Best FA NT for the Titans? Not Brandon Williams.

Brandon Williams has been thrown out a lot recently as the ideal NT to sign on the free agent market for the Titans, but I think we have been overlooking an even better option.

Williams is no doubt one of the best NT's in the NFL, but according to places such as PFF, he had a down year this year. I am not sure if it makes sense to go out and invest a salary potentially upwards of 10 million per on the nose tackle position at all, especially not a guy coming off a down year. Brandon Williams is also a traditional 340+ pound NT, which the Titans have not gone after showing a preference for lighter players such as Al Woods and Austin Johnson.

Jonathan Hankins is not as good of a NT as Brandon Williams, and I'm not going to sit here and tell you he is, but I think he can play at a comparable level for a lower price. NT is not a position that traditionally commands big money, and for good reason. NT's typically play just 60% of snaps, sometimes less, and their primary function is as run stuffers providing very little in pass rush or penetration. Hankins fits the Titans profile more than Williams at 320 pounds, and has consistently been rated as one of the better NT's in the league, though not quite on the same level as Williams. Hankins will be a FA this year because of the Giants massive spending last year, including signing Damon Harrison, who is generally considered the league's best NT. You may notice on PFF they also said that Hankins had a down year, so why am I holding it against Williams and not Hankins? Well, the Giants thought that they could sign Harrison and just kick Hankins over to 3-tech, but that does not fit Hankins strengths at all. Hankins is a pure nose and couldn't provide the penetration that you would want out of a 3-tech, but still possesses the same great anchor against the run and I think would pick up right where he left off if moved back to his natural position. According to Bleacher Report NFL1000, Hankins even graded higher than Williams by one spot, Hankins at 17 and Williams at 18. Hankins is also only 24 years old, and may have not even have reached his prime yet.

Spotrac projects Brandon Williams to command a massive 12.5 mil per salary, I think that is a bit much and would say he will be closer to 10 mil per. Hankins, however, does not have a projection from Spotrac. Looking at other salaries around the NFL I think I would expect Hankins to command around 6 mil per, but I am not totally sure about that since after a lot of googling I can't seem to find much about his potential salary.