The Titans announced this afternoon that they are waiving wide receiver Nick Williams and quarterback Austin Davis to make room for linebacker Robert Spillane and a player to be named later.
There is all sorts of stuff to read in to these moves.
First, obviously the Titans were just as frustrated with Williams’ critical drop and failure to cross the face of the defensive back on Mariota’s one interception Sunday. It was a very bad day for him and ultimately it cost him his job.
Davis’ release is not surprising. The Titans prefer to carry only two quarterbacks on the 53-man roster and now that Marcus Mariota and Blaine Gabbert are both healthy, there was no need for him to be here. I would imagine the Titans will look to add a young quarterback to the practice squad to give them a third arm in practice though.
Spillane’s addition makes me at least a little bit concerned that Wesley Woodyard isn’t going to be back this week (or maybe even longer) and the team is bolstering numbers at the position to prepare for his absence. We will know more about Woodyard’s prognosis tomorrow when the Titans release their first injury report for the week. I am happy to see Spillane get a shot though as he was one of the feel good stories of training camp.
The big news out of this announcement, however, is that empty roster spot. It almost certainly will be a wide receiver that fills it — there’s no way that Tennessee is carrying just four receivers in to the Ravens game — but who that someone could be is anyone’s guess.
My initial reaction is that it must not be one of the two receivers currently on practice squad — Cameron Batson and Chad Hansen — because the Titans probably would have simply announced that move at the same time. I would expect it to be a veteran receiver instead. Losing Rishard Matthews and Nick Williams out of that wide receiver room in the last couple weeks has left them exceedingly young and inexperienced at the position. It may sound like non-sense, but having an experienced player that you can bounce things off of can be very helpful for a position group.
The names that are out there include Dez Bryant, Jeremy Maclin, Markus Wheaton, Corey Coleman, Jeremy Kerley, Bennie Fowler, and Jeff Janis. Out of that group, really only Bryant, Maclin, and Kerley would qualify as true veteran type players. However, if I’m looking for a veteran presence to help mold a young wide receiver room, Dez Bryant is about the last guy I’d want to add to the group. He also doesn’t fit as a slot receiver which is really the role that any receiver the Titans add would preferably fill.
I think Maclin makes the most sense out of this group. He’s a solid veteran who likely doesn’t have the top gear that once made him special, but he can play in the slot and be a role player while also helping guide some of these young players.
Could a trade be in the works? I usually don’t buy the idea of in-season trades, but Jon Robinson has been known to aggressively work the trade markets and there are rumblings that at least a couple high profile wide receivers might be available for the right offer. Devante Parker from the Dolphins is almost certainly available in a trade as reports are already out there saying that Miami is listening. Demaryius Thomas of the Broncos and Amari Cooper of the Raiders could also be potential targets. Thomas has a big contract that Denver would like to get out from under and he’s no longer producing at the level that he was in his prime. Cooper seems to have struggled to mesh with new head coach Jon Gruden in Oakland and considering how trade-happy that team has been, I wouldn’t put anything past them.
Cooper would be a dream addition in my opinion. He’s a proven NFL wide receiver who is still young enough to be a part of a building core here in Tennessee. He would also be a great complement to the skill set of Corey Davis. However, there is no guarantee that the Raiders are even willing to listen right now and the cost would likely still be very high given his production and age.
One final takeaway from today’s moves is that the Titans didn’t do anything at offensive tackle which likely is good news for Taylor Lewan’s foot injury. Logan Ryan also let it slip during his show on the Midday 180 today that Lewan was getting a lift in this morning which seems like something he wouldn’t be doing with a serious foot injury. (We also learned that Lewan looooooves Halloween music and had commandeered the weight room sound system today.)
We will most likely find out who fills that 53rd spot within the next 24 hours. Who do you think it will be?