The Titans announced this afternoon that they are signing wide receiver Nick Williams to the 53-man roster. To make room for Williams, they waived tight end Anthony Firkser and wide receiver/kick returner Cameron Batson.
Williams, of course, spent camp with the Titans this year and impressed early in preseason action before suffering a hamstring injury against the Steelers. Rather than carry an injured Williams on the 53-man roster, the Titans chose to cut him and keep Batson, likely with designs on re-signing Williams once he was healthy and ready to return to action. He brings a veteran presence to a young wide receiver group and showed that he can be a plus special teams contributor during preseason action.
The release of Batson isn’t very surprising. He was likely somewhere around the 52nd or 53rd guy on the roster already, but I would imagine we will see him re-signed to the practice squad if he clears waivers (which I would expect he will).
Firkser’s ouster is slightly more surprising (and not just because he was a training camp crush of mine). The Titans added MyCole Pruitt to the tight end group last week to get the number back to four after Delanie Walker’s injury, but rather than dismissing Pruitt the Titans chose to let Firkser go instead, effectively promoting Pruitt to the third tight end spot behind Jonnu Smith and Luke Stocker. Firkser is also a likely candidate to end up back on the practice squad.
The Titans signed one and released two which means they currently only have 52 players on the roster. So who are they holding that spot for? I think there are a few viable theories:
- Kenneth Durden. The Titans waived Durden to make room for Tyler Marz when he was forced to fill in at right tackle on Sunday. I would assume that the team would like to get back to five cornerbacks on the roster and this one could make sense for the timing since they would have to wait for him to clear waivers prior to bringing him back.
- Another tight end. Firkser wasn’t much of a blocker and it’s possible the Titans realized they needed a different type of tight end behind Smith and Stocker. I’m not sure why they wouldn’t have announced a signing at the same time as Nick Williams though.
- Darius Kilgo. Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reported this morning that the Titans were bringing in the former Texans defensive lineman for a workout. They could use an extra body along the defensive line potentially.
- A quarterback. This is the darkest timeline as it likely means that the team has become more concerned about the health of Marcus Mariota. We have not heard any reports of quarterback workouts which is a plus, but you never really know. I would take a signing of any position other than quarterback as a very good sign regarding Mariota’s prognosis.
Titans fans have never rooted for a boring backup free agent signing more.
Update: The Titans are reportedly planning to sign Kenneth Durden to that 53rd roster spot per Terry McCormick.
#Titans planning to re-sign CB Kenneth Durden to their 53-man roster— Terry McCormick (@terrymc13) September 18, 2018
The fact that the Titans appear to be preparing for the week without adding a 3rd QB to the roster seems to be a good sign with regards to their outlook on Marcus Mariota’s injury.