Rob Bironas had a great career for the Tennessee Titans, but with a $2 million cap figure and a declining leg, it was the right time to say goodbye.
Bironas started his career as an undrafted free agent who happened to land in a kicking competition with the Green Bay Packers that he lost. He then went on to become a Charleston Swamp Fox (essentially D-league, but for the AFL) and eventually caught the eye of NFL teams. He had preseason competitions with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Pittsburgh Steelers before finally getting a real chance to play with the Titans in 2005.
Bironas was an outstanding player for much of his nine-year stint with the team, including an impressive 2007 year where he was named an All-Pro kicker and put up 133 points. Among the records he still holds today are: Most game winning field goals in a season (tied), most points by a kicker in a game (26), second most points in Titans history and most consecutive games with a 40-plus yard field goal made in NFL history (10).
While Titans fans may feel nostalgic over Bironas now, these are the same fans who booed him from the stands and often remarked on his fading leg strength. It is no secret that Bironas had been a poor performer in his kickoff duties as of late. Bironas also saw his field goal percentage drop in recent years, and the writing was on the wall when he was due upwards of $2 million in 2014.
The question is, who will be the next man on the list for the Titans?
In an odd fit of parody, at least part of former Auburn Tiger Rob Bironas’ duties could be handled by another Auburn player. Steven Clark is an outstanding punter who has some of the best ball placement at any level of football. With his leg, he could warrant an early Day 3 pick from the Titans in the 2014 NFL Draft. Clark could take care of the kickoff responsibility, and the Titans (who are looking to get younger) could also release Brett Kern. This would allow them to focus on finding the best pure field goal kicker in the draft of free agency.
Another question is what will the Titans do with their near $20 million in cap space? Edge rushers like Shaun Phillips and Jared Allen are available, and both could be decent fits in the Titans’ new hybrid 3-4 defense (though Allen would likely be reduced to 4-3 downs). Also, with the running back market looking cheap, the Titans could use that money to bring in another good running back like Knowshon Moreno or LeGarrette Blount.