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2013 NFL Free Agency: Is Kenny Phillips A Good Fit for the Titans?

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Is the young, veteran safety a solution to the Titans' safety woes?

Kenny Phillips putting the final touches on the Giants Super Bowl victory
Kenny Phillips putting the final touches on the Giants Super Bowl victory
Joe Robbins

The Giants did not tender safety Kenny Phillips the franchise tag as of this writing and will be an unrestricted free agent on March 12th. It's almost rare that you get a good safety like Phillips on the free market in any given year. Let's see if the former Miami Hurricane is a good fit for the Titans organization.

Pros:

  • The talent exceeds the hype - Phillips was the nation's top ranked safety in high school and coming out of college. There have been very few players to achieve such meritorious honors. He was also the last Miami Hurricane that was drafted in the first round since 2008. While with the Giants, he's known for being a do it all safety that's comfortable in laying the wood just as effectively as being a centerfielder. The Hurricane defensive back tradition in the NFL is a glorious one and Phillips is a continuation of it. When's the last time a Cane DB didn't become a serviceable player at least?
  • He's still only 26 years old - A safety this talented at 26 years old shouldn't be on the market save for some major off field concerns, which Phillips doesn't have any. The age is a great selling point to any potential suitor as he has his prime years ahead of him. He would bring "veteran" experience to the Titans' young players with the Super Bowl ring he won. Phillips is also younger than much ballyhooed Dashon Goldson.
  • The potential - A Phillips signing would immeasurably enhance the recent signing of George Wilson. He can play either free or strong and can rotate with Wilson/Griffin in certain packages to keep his knees healthy. He and Wilson can take young Markelle Martin under their wings to teach him a thing or two about the position. The potential for Gregg Williams and Jerry Gray to put Phillips anywhere on the field has to be salivating to a lot of people.

Cons:

  • Is he really healthy? - There are some glaring health risks with Phillips as his knees are starting to get balky on him. He has a similar condition to New York Knicks' forward/center Amare Stoudamire has had with his knees but has managed well. The injury flag is a worry. He missed nearly all of 2009 and some of 2012 but played 2 full healthy years in between so there is that.
  • What kind of contract is he looking for? - He should have some competitive offers from various teams that need safety help. If he can be had for the right price, then by all means, the team has to sign him. As a young safety just entering his prime years, he should see quite a bit of money coming his way but the health risk should make him affordable.

Would I endorse this signing? Yes I would. The knee issue could turn some teams off if the Titans can sign him to a cheap deal, it can be managed through certain playing time restrictions and incentives. I imagine that rotating him in with Wilson/Griffin for certain packages would be ideal in watching his knee condition. The Knicks have done so with the aforementioned Stoudamire by managing his playing time to certain degrees. Phillips would be a massive upgrade over the abomination the Titans try to pass off as their backup safeties. Jerry Gray could finally end his terribly misguided love affair with giving Robert Johnson minutes. Al "don't call me Alfalfa" Afalava, bless his heart, can be relegated to where he's best suited, the backup utility role.