Free agent CB Jonathan Joseph just texted me: "Hey. Gonna sign with the Titans."— ig: josinaanderson (@JosinaAnderson) April 29, 2020
The 36-year old two time Pro Bowler’s contract expired in March after nine extremely successful years in Houston. Now, he’ll join his former position coach, Anthony Midget, in making the move north to Nashville this offseason.
There is obviously a connection with Vrabel as well and the familiarity is key to this signing. In a shortened virtual offseason due to COVID-19, Joseph will be a quick study in a system that is, by all accounts, very similar to the one that he played in last year. He also cited the Titans success last season as part of the reasoning for his decision.
Jonathan Joseph said it's a 1Y deal & explained to me why he chose t/ Titans: "I'm familiar w/ the coaches and the division and they went to the AFC title game last year. Not far from SC, so will got to travel on Friday & see son play senior year football at North Carolina." #TAR— ig: josinaanderson (@JosinaAnderson) April 29, 2020
The Titans cornerback room still needed some additional depth after drafting LSU star Kristian Fulton in the second round of the draft and Joseph provides that, even if he has lost a step off his 4.31 40 time coming out of South Carolina. They’ll now have a four deep that includes Malcolm Butler, Adoree’ Jackson, Fulton, and Joseph. That’s a pretty strong group and it gives them some options if Fulton isn’t ready to play right away (though I suspect he will be).
This is a very shrewd signing by Jon Robinson. Even if Joseph isn’t the shutdown corner he once was, he’s still got enough juice to help a team. He graded out as slightly above average by PFF charting last season, allowing 48 catches on 78 targets (61.5%) for 627 yards and two touchdowns. He had one interception and 13 passes defensed.
He will help new defensive backs coach Anthony Midget earn instant trust and credibility in the locker room and provides a veteran presence that can help replace some of what the Titans are losing with Logan Ryan’s departure. Joseph has long been viewed as one of the steady leaders on the Texans defense and his knowledge of the division, especially his former teammates, doesn’t hurt either.
This might not be the former Texan that Titans fans have been waiting for, but he makes a ton of sense as a depth piece who can keep another injury to Butler or Jackson from being a disaster for the Tennessee defense.
Speaking of Jadeveon Clowney, it’s also worth noting that he and Joseph are not only both former Texans and former South Carolina Gamecocks, but they also both grew up in Rock Hill, SC and have a sibling-like relationship from their time together in Houston. The Titans likely would make this move with or without Clowney, so I don’t think this is part one of some pre-determined package deal, but I certainly don’t think it hurts their chances with the talented free agent edge rusher.