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Titans free agent spotlight: TE Anthony Firkser

NFL: JAN 09 Titans at Texans Photo by Leslie Plaza Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

We are just days away from free agency! The Tennessee Titans have several difficult decisions to make in the coming days and weeks. General manager Jon Robinson will be hard at work as the 2022 iteration of the Titans will begin to take shape sooner rather than later.

The Titans currently possess 28 unrestricted free agents, including several key starters and role players, including Harold Landry, Ben Jones, Rashaan Evans, David Quessenberry, Geoff Swaim, Dane Cruikshank and Jayon Brown. With the signing period fast approaching, we’re taking some final in-depth looks at some of their free agents while providing arguments for why the Titans should, or shouldn’t re-sign that player. We’ll also offer our final verdict and a prediction to go along with our analysis.

Today, we’re looking at their starting tight end.

Name: Anthony Firkser

Position: Tight end

Current Age: 27

Why the Titans should keep Firkser: Firkser was an excellent find out of Harvard in 2018. Firsker found a home in Nashville after bouncing around the league as an undrafted free agent following the conclusion of the 2017 NFL Draft. Firkser began flashing in training camp and managed to carry over that momentum into actual quality play. Firkser quickly became the team’s go-to tight end in the passing game, and he’s served in that role for multiple seasons. The team’s “BIG SLOT” tight end, Firkser is a chain-mover that has produced 41 first downs over the previous two seasons. He continues to be a mismatch in the passing game, and should be relatively affordable to keep.

Why the Titans should let Firkser walk: The Titans were betting big on Firkser in 2021 and it backfired. Tennessee allowed Jonnu Smith to walk in free agency in a move that essentially catapulted Firkser to TE1. Despite being promoted to a starting role, Firkser regressed while failing to take the desired steps forward. Firkser recorded fewer receptions and yards in 2021 than he did in 2020, and his yards per reception dropped a full 1.3 yard per catch (from 9.9. in 2020 to 8.6 in 2020). He also made just one explosive play (20-plus yards) versus five explosive plays the previous season. Considering Smith was no longer in the picture, it’s difficult to explain why Firkser took a step backwards. Perhaps the departure of offensive coordinator Arthur Smith, paired with Ryan Tannehill’s regression also played a role.

Final verdict: Tennessee must revamp and retool the tight end room this offseason. They need at least two new players at the position, and you can even make an argument for a third. That’s how poor the tight end play was a year ago. Firkser did a lot of great things in Tennessee that should forever be appreciated, but it’s time to move on.

Prediction: Firkser plays elsewhere in 2022 as the Titans prioritize the position and plan to make several offseason upgrades via the draft and free agency.

What are your thoughts? Should the Titans re-sign Firkser? Leave your opinion in the comments.