NFL Tennessee Titans

5 Tennessee Titans Storylines to Follow Leading Up to Free Agency

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5 Tennessee Titans Storylines To Follow Leading Up To Free Agency

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The Tennessee Titans are heading into free agency with plenty of questions that need answers. A team in transition, they have a new head coach and a former first-round pick who is starting to border on the side of being a bust. Things can turn around quickly for them, but there are some serious signs that they are a team in decline.

New head coach Ken Whisenhunt has his work cut out for him this coming season. The team has been held back for years by the ridiculous deal they gave to running back Chris Johnson. You never want to overpay a running back, and the only reason that deal hasn’t completely sunk them is because they have gotten value out of their quarterback position.

Not to say that they have gotten quality play from the position, far from it. Jake Locker has been adequate at best when healthy, but has been on the sidelines for too long. He’ll get another year to prove he has what it takes to be a real franchise quarterback, but if he doesn’t have a good season this year, then the Titans will have to start asking the hard questions about his future.

And it’s not just the offense that has issues. With the new head coach will come the 3-4 defense, and the transition is often not a smooth one for teams. It requires an entirely different personnel group than their previous scheme. This offseason will be a big one for them if they want to start shaping the roster for success in the 3-4.

There will be no shortage of good Titans storylines to follow this offseason, and these are the five that you should be following heading into free agency.

Ben Sullivan is an NFL writer for Follow him on Twitter @bensullivan52, "Like" him on Facebook and add him to your network on Google.

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5. Will They Go After Michael Johnson?

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Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Michael Johnson could end up being the big winner in free agency this year. The Titans could end up giving him a big deal and switching him to a pass-rushing outside linebacker in the 3-4 defense, a position that never comes cheap and is crucial to the success of the scheme.

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4. Will They Bring In A Veteran Quarterback?

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The Titans are still in the process of trying to figure out exactly what they have in former first-round pick Jake Locker. He’s been solid when healthy, but hasn’t put together a full year that can make them feel he is the man for the job going forward. He’ll most likely get another chance to impress this coming season, but I wouldn’t be shocked to see them bring in a quality veteran who can give him more competition than Ryan Fitzpatrick has.

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3. How Hard Will They Try To Keep Alterraun Verner?

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Cornerback Alterraun Verner is likely to get overpaid this offseason, mostly because he plays a premier position and good corners don’t come cheap on the open market. The Titans would like to have him back, but the fact that they haven’t inked him to a deal by this point makes it unlikely that they will match the kind of offers he’ll get from other teams.

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2. How Does The Switch To The 3-4 Affect Their Free Agency Plans?

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Brining Whisenhunt to town also most likely means bringing the 3-4 defense to town. Switching to the new alignment means the Titans need to overhaul the defensive roster to get the right kind of players on the field. That all begins with free agency this offseason. They could be looking for a good inside linebacker and a three-technique tackle.

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1. Will They Release Chris Johnson?

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The contract that Tennessee signed Chris Johnson to was one of the worst in the league the second that pen hit paper. Now that a few years have gone by, and the guaranteed money has already been paid, they can cut ties with him and start to move on. You don’t build around running backs anymore, especially ones who haven’t had an impactful season in a couple of years.