Today, I unveil my plan for how the Titans should proceed in 2014's off-season. My goal is to improve the Titans in a realistic, ethical, and methodical way through 4 stages. I've researched the roster looking at the weakest and strongest areas of need. I've watched tape on various prospects I believe can help us. I've added cap figures and base salaries. I'll update after the actual events unfold; Free Agency, Draft, Etc. I know it's waaaay to early for mocks and projections but I find the NFL off-season to be interesting. How a team goes from 2-14 to 14-2 in just a few months is just one of the things that make the NFL great to me.
* Detonates an Update
Stage 1: Cuts and Reconstruction
It's never is a good time to release someone from their job, but considering the financial nature of the NFL, trimming the fat is often a necessity.
2014 Project Cap space is about $12 million per overthecap.com
- David Stewart - +6.4 million-Best in the league when healthy. He needs to sit a year or two and heal up. Would re-sign.
- Craig Stevens - +2.4 million-Stalwart veteran, respected professional, cap number too high. Would re-sign.
- Moise Fokou- +1.4 million-Teased us early on with better than average play, then failed us. Never again.
- Chris Johnson - +6.0 million-Sigh... CJ. CJ, it's not you... It's us..we need the money...goodbye. Would be designated a June 1 cut.
Keeping Kamerion Wimbley:
Wimbley's contract has stressed me out the most. We had a 4-7 million guy as a backup last year. Maybe he wasn't stepping up, maybe he wasn't being used right. Now, fast forward a year. We have new defensive coaches, new promises and new positions that need to be filled. Despite the 2.4 million in cap space we would save by cutting him(and the 5.4 million in dead money), we should keep him and play him in the new jack/bandit role in the 4-3 under scheme. We'll give him a wait and see year. Then, if he isn't a necessary cog in the machine, we cut him for 4.7 million in 2015.
New Cap number: 28.2
Jurrell Casey- 3 million roster bonus 2014 cap hit: -3 million Why: Why not. Keep our most dominate defensive lineman happy and prepped for a early contract.
- Cap Adjustment:-3 million
- Kamerion Wimbley and Michael Griffin both could re-do their contracts to move some money around but lets wait a year.
Stage 2: Re-signings and Free Agency
New Cap number: 25.2 million
My free agency plan involves staying at home, signing our own free agents. The reason being is that we're stretched pretty thin for a 7-9 team cap wise. The Titans have to hit on players in the draft and ride the their rookie contracts to the Super Bowl a la Seahawks.
That being said, sometimes a short gap player is needed. This year I only see the Titans targeting free agents in a few areas; SS, DT, SILB, and maybe RT. SS: if we don't sign Pollard back there is quite a market for SS this year. DT: Hill is an incomplete at this point, could be cut and we go after a more dominate DT/NT. SILB: is at the top of need we need to address. We need to sign a veteran and draft a rookie. The 4-3 under scheme calls for a SILB to constantly take on Centers and Guards. Fokou and the most of the Titans current linebackers are too small for that role.
- Ropati Pitoitua - 3 year 6 million with 1 million signing bonus
2014 cap hit: 2 million
Why:Had 4 sacks. Can 2 gap at LE, DT, RE.
- Leon Washington- 1 year 1 million 2014 cap hit: 1million Why: He showed speed and decisiveness. Wish we had him earlier in the season.
- Chris Spencer- 1 year 1 million
2014 cap hit: 1 million
Why:Cheap depth for the interior of the offensive line.
- Antonio Johnson- 1 year 1 million
2014 cap hit: 1 million
Why: He had 3 sacks, has been in a 3-4 scheme with the Colts.
- *Bernard Pollard- 2 year 6.4 million 2014 cap hit: 3.2 million Why: Vocal leader for the defense. Known for bringing, the bone, wood, pain, boom, etc.
- *Jackie Battle- 1 year 1 million? 2014 cap hit: 1 million Why: Special Teams ace, fits the big body RB mold the Whiz likes.
Not Keeping Alterraun Verner: It just doesn't make financial sense. Jason McCourty's contract is 7th is the NFL at cornerback with 43 million in total value. 7th!!! If the contract ATV is wants is north of that, it just doesn't work for us. Maybe if it was 10-15 million under what Jason got. I thought about all the positives in keeping him; sacks, pressures, ints, etc. But to handicap the team with so much money in one area would just be asinine.
New Cap number: 16 million
- SILB Brandon Spikes -4 year 15 million with 3 million signing bonus 2014 cap hit: 4.3 Why: Karlos Dansby has thrown his hat in with the Cardinals, so Spikes is the next catch. But, Brandon Spikes is rumored to want a 6.5 million per 2 years contract. Well, we can handle that. Plus he brings leadership and versatility having played in multiple schemes in NE.
- LT/RT Anthony Collins - 3 years 9 million with 1 million signing bonus 2014 cap hit: 3 million Why: Considering the uncertainty of Roos' contract status after next year. For instance, Roos might come out and say he wants to be the highest paid LT ever. Collins is a cheap contingency plan for the Titans in case of injury and/ or contract negotiations.
- *TE Ed Dickson - 2 years 3 million 2014 cap hit: 1.5 Why: Cheap veteran depth. Camp competition for Taylor Thompson.
New Cap number: 7.2 million
Stage 3: The Draft and the Undrafted Free Agents
My Draft strategy involves taking the BPA at the position of greatest need. No trades and no 3rd round pick. I will use fanspeak's draft simulator to keep me honest.
According to the Team Rookie Pool Estimates on Overthecap.com, our rookie class should cost around 4.8 million.
- 11 OLB ANTHONY BARR UCLA: Barr is Wimbley's partner in crime, and eventual successor. We line him up all over the field let him make plays. Barr will make opponents fear the Bandit position.
- 42 OT ANTONIO RICHARDSON TENNESSEE: My plan is to let Anthony Collins start the first half of the season that then drop Richardson in at RT.
- 108 RB CARLOS HYDE OHIO STATE: A special running back that could help ease the CJ separation. He should thrive with all the offensive line talent we have.
- 139 LB MAX BULLOUGH MICHIGAN STATE: He had 111 tackles and 12.5 LOT with 2.5 sacks in 2012. A pet project for Lou Spanos to mold.
- 170 WR CODY LATIMER INDIANA: Stat line: 72 recs for 1096, 9 TDs
- 205 DT JAY BROMLEY SYRACUSE: Was 2nd in Sacks for a DT in the NCAA last year.
Undrafted Free Agents:
- DT SHAMAR STEPHEN - UCONN
- OLB DEVON KENNARD - USC
- ILB ANDREW JACKSON -WESTERN KENTUCKY
- OT JUSTIN BRITT - MISSOURI
- WR BERNARD REEDY - TOLEDO
- WR SHAQ EVANS - UCLA
- ILB GLENN CARSON - PENN STATE
- OLB SHAQUIL BARRETT - COLORADO STATE
- QB STEPHEN MORRIS - MIAMI
- S VINNIE SUNSERI - ALABAMA
- G MICHAEL SCHOFIELD - MICHIGAN
- TE XAVIER GRIMBLE - USC
Remaining Cap Space: 2.4 million
Stage 4: The Wrap Up: Offense/Defense
I end here with a roster wrap up.