The Titans defense, despite lacking consistency from both the linebackers and the pass rush, jumped from around-about last place to 11th in the pass defense category in 2013. This was in part due to an overhaul at the safety position. The team brought in both George Wilson and Bernard Pollard who had excellent years bolstering the safety group, while Michael Griffin enjoyed a resurgent season that brought back memories of the player he was drafted (and paid) to be. Food for thought, the Titans were one of only TWO NFL teams to have two safeties ranked within the top 20.
Pollard may have been a journeyman thus far in his NFL career, but the season he just completed in Tennessee was his best. He was a top tackler, played the most snaps on the defense, all the while ranking as a Top 18 safety per PFF. He recorded a career best 3 interceptions and 10 passes defensed, and has stated his desire to return to Tennessee in 2014. He would be a bargain at the same price he played under last year, the 2 million even. At this point, not bringing him back would simply add another need to the laundry list, which the Titans should be working the lessen.
($495k in 2014)
The rookie late round pick, 248th overall in fact, had limited opportunities to make a dent in a suddenly deep safety corps. Stafford had a good amount of college production, and remains a physically gifted athlete. In limited snaps, he did manage to force a key fumble. With potentially both Griffin and Pollard not returning, which is an unfavorable scenario at this point, Stafford could be in for more opportunity in 2014.
($6.2 million + escalator bonus = 8 million cap hit in 2014)
Griffin's massively over-done contract remains a big issue in his return to the Titans in 2014. That said, last year made it look a whole lot less ugly. Griffin ranked within the top 15 safeties in the NFL, allowing few big plays to his side of the field and proving unseasonably stingy in the red zone. The 2013 Griffin was night and day from his 2010-12 versions, with his tackling and aggressiveness much improved.
($2 million in 2014)
Wilson was signed to a 2 year, $4 million dollar contract last offseason. He brought to the Titans a much-needed supply of leadership and on-field accountability. Despite being a "backup" safety, Wilson subbed in on certain packages, as well as fore Griffin when he was suspended. Wilson racked up 40 tackles, a game-sealing INT, and 5 passes defensed. Despite limited snaps, he was the Titans highest grading safety per PFF, and was an important player on special teams where he played a key role in the deciding of several games. You can never have enough guys like Wilson on the roster.
Everything will hinge upon the futures of Michael Griffin and Bernard Pollard. When all is said and done, I think both guys return to the Titans next season and the starting jobs don't change. I don't expect the Titans to add any players through the draft at this point unless one of those two guys leaves, but with many other spots that need addressing, the Titans would do better to add a veteran than to spend another pick at the position, especially since the spot is somewhat thin this year.
You can find the rest of the position groups so far below: