With free agency looming, many teams have a lot of tough decisions to make. One team that comes to mind is the Tennessee Titans, they have numerous decisions to make and plenty of players they need to sign. The best free agents Tennessee needs to re-sign are Alterraun Verner and Bernard Pollard. While Verner is going to cost them a load of money if they decide to re-sign him, Pollard is a different story. He has some age under his belt so I believe they’ll be able to re-sign him easily, however Verner might slip away to another team. Rumor has it that the Titans are meeting with Verner and Pollard at the NFL Combine.
Pollard on the left and Verner on the right.
Tennessee also needs to decide what route to take in the draft and other players that they might need to cut. With that being said, Tennessee has one big question mark beside one expensive player and that’s Chris Johnson. Johnson hasn’t been the same for the past few season. Some might speculate that he’s past his prime even though he’s only 28. Johnson is due $8 million next season and quite frankly, Tennessee just can’t afford that. For all the Titans fans, like myself, out there, don’t expect to see Chris Johnson in a Titans uniform next season.
As of right now, the Titans have approximately $10 million in cap space this year. Everybody knows what that little of money means… some well known faces are getting the infamous pink slip. As I already stated, Johnson is likely gone and that will free up $6 million. Other players could be Kamerion Whimbley ($2.4 million), David Stewart ($6.4 million), Nate Washington ($4.8 million), Craig Stevens ($2.4 million), Ryan Fitzpatrick ($3.25 million), and Eugene Amano ($2 million). If they decide to cut these players, possibly more, they’ll find themselves with $37,250,000 million in cap space. That’s a big difference from $10 million. Expect a lot of cuts between now and March 11th when free agency starts.
The 2014 NFL Combine is going to be a record breaking one if you ask me. This year’s combine has so many great players who’ll likely be NFL Hall of Fame inductees when their career is over. Some names on this list include: Sammy Watkins, Johnny Manziel, Teddy Bridgewater, Jadeveon Clowney, Anthony Barr, Khalil Mack, Taylor Lewan, Jake Matthews, C.J. Mosley, and so many others. Saturday is day one of the combine. This is a three day event where all the best college football players, who get invited, attend to show off their mad skill while NFL scouts watch and grade them based on these skills. The Titans are one team that have a lot of players to look at in this combine. They need tons of help anywhere they can get it.
The Titans are in need of an offensive lineman, linebacker, defensive end, possibly a cornerback, running back, and strong safety. They could fill some of these holes in free agency, especially by re-signing some of their own free agents. If Tennessee re-signs Bernard Pollard like they’ve made perfectly clear that they want to do and also re-sign Alterraun Verner, if he’s in their price range, to a long term contract to lock him up for the future. The Titans only have an offensive lineman, linebacker, defensive end and cornerback. With 6 picks in the draft, Tennessee have a great chance to fill all those positions with quality players. Now let’s see who Tennessee will likely scout this year.
The person they’ll keep their eyes on the most is going to be Anthony Barr or Jake Matthews. Since Barr is going to fall after Matthews I’d say Barr is going to be their main target. Some other players may include: Khalil Mack, Kyle Van Noy, C.J. Mosley, Taylor Lewan, Dee Ford, Kony Ealy, and Justin Gilbert. Tennessee needs to make use of these draft picks considering the talent this year. If Tennessee wants to be a team other teams dread playing they need to start with their defense!!! They need to draft a defensive player on the first round and again in the fourth. Tennessee is also meeting with Pollard and Verner at the combine to discuss contracts. This is going to be a big weekend for the Titans as they head into March when free agency starts, March 11th to be exact.
This year’s 2014 NFL Draft is full of talent just waiting to be drafted. So the question is who will find the gem of the draft? As in, who will draft the player who will have the most success in the NFL. The draft consist of players like: Johnny Manziel, Teddy Bridgewater, Jadeveon Clowney, Sammy Watkins, Jake Matthews, Khalil Mack, Anthony Barr, among others. With many teams needing great, young players to step in right away and make an impact they have a great chance to find that player this year.
I believe the player who will have the most success will be wide receiver Sammy Watkins from Clemson. Whoever drafts this talent will find themselves with the gem of the draft. Watkins is an amazing athlete with a huge future ahead of him. Watkins could play special teams along with wide receiver. He’s extremely fast and has great hands. Watkins was very explosive at Clemson. Teams couldn’t slow him down. Watkins senior stats were quite impressive. He caught 101 passes for 1,464 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Watkins dominating teams with his speed and skill:
Look for Watkins to be Rookie of the Year and most likely getting a Pro Bowl bid his first year. Sammy Watkins will be in the Sports Center top 10 throughout his long career. Since Watkins is definitely going to be gone in the top 10, possibly the top 5, these are the teams that could draft him: Houston Texans, St. Louis, Jacksonville, Cleveland, Oakland, or Atlanta. I don’t see Watkins slipping out of the top 6. If I was to make a prediction about who will draft Sammy Watkins it would be the St. Louis Rams at number 2.
On Sunday, Michael Sam, former defensive end for the Missouri Tigers, announced he was gay. Sam was a projected 3rd round draft pick before announcing he was gay. While many people believe this will affect his draft stock and his NFL career, I think otherwise. Sam was a star at Missouri from 2009-2013. Sam’s senior season he recorded 11.5 sacks and 19 tackles for a loss. During his career at Missouri, Sam accumulated 123 tackles, 36 for a loss, 21 sacks, six forced fumbles and two interceptions.
Michael Sam was named SEC Defensive Player of the Year in 2013, which upped his draft stock. Sam has size at 6’2″ and 255 pounds. He’s a great football player regardless of his sexual orientation. Sam shouldn’t be judged by the lifestyle in which he lives. I would draft Michael Sam no later than the 3rd round. Sam being gay shouldn’t matter one bit, and it definitely shouldn’t cause a distraction. Sam’s teammates knew about him being gay and look how great Missouri was last year. They had a 12-2 record and Sam was their best defensive player.
Michael Sam announcing to the world that he’s gay:
I’m all for Micheal Sam being openly gay , players shouldn’t have to hide who they are. Michael Sam’s sexual orientation doesn’t affect the way he plays on the field. Sam has talent and athletic ability and that’s all that should matter. I would never skip over a draft prospect because he’s gay; if a player can help my team succeed then I’m going to draft him and let him play. I think a team is going to give him a chance and he’ll run with it. Michael Sam will be the first openly gay player to play in the NFL and this will only open the door for bigger and better things in the future.
Running back Chris Johnson has been great for the Titans up until a few years ago. In Johnson’s first three NFL seasons he put up more than 4,500 yards (4,598 to be exact) and 34 touchdowns. Johnson also averaged 4.9 yards per carry over that span. In Johnson’s last three season he’s only put up 3,367 yards and 16 touchdowns, averaging only 4.1 yards per carry. His stats have dropped dramatically over the last three seasons. Johnson is set to make $8 million next season and the way its looking he’s on his way out of Tennessee.
If asked if he would take a pay cut to help the team, Johnson replied with “no way” stating that it’s a “team effort.” Chris Johnson needs to take some responsibility for his lack of effort in his game after getting payed that big paycheck. The best thing for Chris Johnson to do is take a pay cut and prove that he is worth that money he was originally payed. If Johnson shows that he’s a team player then Tennessee may give him that money back in the form of a new contract in a few years.
Chris Johnson is still full of talent he just need to get his head out of the gutter and play like he once did. Johnson seems to be missing a big piece of his game let’s just hope he finds it before its too late. I can see the potential left in Johnson and I’d hate to see that potential walk right out the door, but Tennessee has too much salary cap issues to overlook Johnson’s big payday next season. With Johnson likely on his way out the next question is who will replace Chris Johnson at the start of the 2014 season.