The Tennessee Titans have some interesting decisions coming up here in this offseason. On one hand, I expect them to throw tons of money towards one or two really big name free agents. On the other hand, Jon Robinson does not come from the school of building through free agency.
Now, to be fair Robinson has never had as much money to spend as he will this offseason, and he has never been in a situation where the key players are already under contract for next year, so there is no telling what will happen. Having said that, I expect him to look long and hard at who will be a free agent in 2017 and make sure no one big is leaving.
One of the names I have a hard time figuring out is Daimion Stafford, and not just for the spelling. He is a genuinely confusing player right now because we don't know what he is. I think this is the conclusion that Robinson will end up with.
While Stafford hasn't done a lot yet, he has shown a lot of flashes. He can definitely come down in the box and hit somebody, which is great for a few reasons. Mostly, this is in line with a trend in the NFL where since NFL offenses are getting faster and smaller, it makes sense to play more safeties. This has led to player like Mark Barron being put in the box and asked to do a lot more than what a safety normally does, and to actually look much closer to an outside linebacker than a safety.
With this league shift, it makes sense that you keep a guy this versatile around in case there is a scheme switch in the future. In the mean time, Robinson could see him as a Patrick Chung type player. Stafford is tough and will get full effort in whatever he is asked to do. I could see the new special teams coach Bobby April finding a way to make him a star in the game's third phase.
So with all of that, I have said before that I don't like making a weakness out of a strength. That just means when you have good players who have a defined role you don't let them go. Stafford is a backup safety that can play linebacker in the future and who will need to pick up the special teams slack left behind by Michael Griffin (who doesn't get enough credit for his effort in this category). Here is what I would do.
Daimion Stafford: 3 years/$12 million per year
Alright, so here is my thinking. The league is about to go through a spike in safety contracts because in the next two years these are the free agent safeties set to hit the market:
1. Eric Berry
2. Eric Weddle
3. Reggie Nelson
4. Mark Barron
5. Tashaun Gibson
6. Louis Delmas
7. Husain Abdullah
8. Will Hill
9. Kenny Vaccaro
10. Darian Stewart
11. Eric Reid
12. Harrison Smith
13. Tyrann Mathieu
And I am sure I am missing a few good names. Paying Stafford $3 million per year, is roughly $1 million more than the current first round rookie safety contract. Like I said, that number isn't the true value of what safeties will be worth in the league by the time he is set to hit FA, but both parties get some security in this case.
i think this is a fair deal if the Titans think they can use him on special teams and as a 3rd safety option behind Da'Norris Searcy and another very good free agency safety.