The Tennessee Titans have a ton of money to spend in free agency (roughly 5th most at just over $42 million) and it is time to look at potential upgrades. When you look at Dick LeBeau's 3-4 (and really any successful 3-4) the key to building a good unit is by having your best players play right up the middle i.e. nose tackle, inside linebacker and safety.
While edge rushers are important, you have to remember that one of the cornerstones of the two-gap 3-4 defense, is a nose tackle that can command a double team to keep players off of your smaller inside linebackers.
If that is going to be the case for the Titans in 2015, the Titans have to start their evaluation on defense right there, at the nose.That means that Sammie Lee Hill will be under the microscope.
If you are going to think of a contender for his spot, the best place to start might be with Dan Williams. Williams has been a Arizona Cardinal for his entire career, and is one of the top 5-10 nose tackles in the league. Williams also happens to be a free agent this year that no one seems to be talking about.
The case for Hill
While most may have missed it this year in the middle of a terrible defense, Hill quietly had a decent 2014 campaign. Hill never really jumped out on the stat sheet, but he constantly forced extra attention from offensive linemen and occasionally even pressured the quarterback (11 hurries this season).
Hill is someone that the Titans were comfortable with playing almost 600 snaps despite signing Al Woods in free agency and drafting DaQuan Jones, not to mention having Mike Martin on the bench already. Tennessee values what Hill can do, and they may want to spend money in places where the gap between players is much more evident (not that it is exactly small here).
The case for Williams
Dan Williams is one of the best young nose tackles in the game, and he fits what Dick LeBeau wants to do at the position. Not only is he a fit for what LeBeau does, he was actually drafted by Ray Horton and Ken Whisenhunt in Arizona, which is a pretty ringing endorsement of what they think of him.
Williams has proved those coaches right, and is a top five run defender at his position according to PFF's ranking system.This is something the Titans desperately need after a year where they finished as the 31st worst run defense in the league.
Standing at 6'2" and a dense 327 lb. Williams has shown that he is a force in the middle of a 3-4 defense and he should be considered one of the best DTs on the open market this year after only Ndamukong Suh and maybe Damon Harrison if he actually hits free agency.
Now, other than money and the possibility of working with possibly the best defensive coach in football history, you may ask why Williams would choose Tennessee. Well, he has done it once before after committing to the University of Tennessee in 2005. Williams is a Memphis native, and could want to be closer to home for his big second contract.