The Tennessee Titans came into this offseason with a lot of questions. Who would be the quarterback? What will happen to Chris Johnson? What is the top priority for the Titans this offseason? As NFL free agency draws closer hour-by-hour, questions are finally taking shape.
It looks like the Titans truly are committed to quarterback Jake Locker. With Michael Vick and Josh McCown hitting the free market as the top signal callers, there wasn’t exactly a franchise player who could have challenged Locker for his spot in my mind. However, the fact that the Titans didn’t make an obvious attempt at either player should solidify (at least in Locker’s mind) that Ken Whisenhunt will give Locker a year to prove himself before writing him off.
On the other hand, Johnson looks like a different story. While Whisenhunt talked up Johnson in the early going, it seems after evaluating his tape and looking at his cap number (and then looking again to make sure it wasn’t a typo), the end of the CJ2K era in Tennessee is near. The Titans are publicly looking to trade Johnson, but with prospects of doing so being slim to none, it looks like he will be let go.
As for the top priority in free agency, that seems to be shaping up too. While dream players like Washington Redskins edge rusher Brian Orakpo and New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham didn’t hit the market (not that anyone realistically expected them to), one player has be told he will be getting cut who could make a huge difference for the Titans.
Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker Lamarr Woodley has been informed that he is going to be released. As soon as the news broke, people began making connections, and the one most often made was between Woodley and new Titans defensive coordinator Ray Horton. While Horton never directly coached Woodley, he was witness to Woodley becoming the star that he is now.
During Horton’s tenure, Woodley accumulated 39.5 sacks in four years. Those numbers are not something that a smart defensive coach like Horton forgets. At only 29-years old, Woodley should be the No. 1 priority now that Alterraun Verner is all but gone and the Titans are in desperate need for a pass rusher who fits the new hybrid 3-4 defense.