A new era dawns in Tennessee with the appointment of an old face in the form of Head Coach Ken Whisenhunt. A former Super Bowl champion coordinator from his time in Pittsburgh, Whisenhunt also got back to the big dance in Arizona but fell just short against his former employers.
In Tennessee he faces the task of realizing Jake Locker’s potential and revamping a team that has struggled to keep pace in the AFC South.
Without an overabundance of cap space the Titans won’t be able to rework the entire roster through free agency, but with a few moves they are in a relatively healthy situation.
– Player markers are colored per class on a six-step ‘Poor’ to ‘High Quality’ scale based on their overall performance and the league’s elite are marked separately in blue.
– Colored outlines suggest a potential change in class.
– Underlined players will be 30+ years old for the 2014 season.
– Red player names suggest injury risks.
– Click on the image to enlarge.
– With the addition of Andy Levitre in the 2013 offseason the Titans can deploy one of the finest left sides in the league when it comes to the offensive line. Michael Roos remains one of the best and Levitre quietly played well in his first year in Tennessee. If they can get improved play from Warmack on the right side then they are left with just center and right tackle to address.
– The trend on the Titans’ roster is very much average, with 10 players earning a yellow designation, one of only two sides in the league in double figures. The biggest ‘average’ area on the roster with the likely free agent departure of Alterraun Verner is the defensive secondary.
– If Jake Locker fails to progress under new coaching it’s likely not going to be for the want of weapons to throw to. Kendall Wright leads the receiving corps which has the potential to be an excellent group if Justin Hunter can take another step forward. Delanie Walker is a good option at tight end and the Titans have the ability to run the football.
– Jurrell Casey was one of the league’s most disruptive defensive tackles in 2013 and former first round pick Derrick Morgan has also quietly developed into a fine player. Those two provide an impressive pair on the D-line but there is scope to improve their supporting cast, either in the form of starters or in the rotation behind them.
2014 Cap Situation
Not bad. The Titans have a bit of wiggle room against the cap with somewhere in the region of $7.2 million (per overthecap.com) of space but they can also free up significantly more with a couple of cuts or restructures of key personnel on the roster. The team needs to attack this draft with gusto under a new regime, but they do have the cash to target a free agent or two if they decide that’s the way to go.
Chris Johnson. Formerly CJ2K has a monster cap number ($10 million) and hasn’t come close to justifying that kind of figure for some time. The Titans weren’t helping him out with blocking up front for some of that time, but Johnson isn’t the player he was at his best. His rushing style isn’t ideally suited to making things happen on his own when the blocking breaks down. The Titans would be on the hook for $4 million in dead money if they cut him, but it would free up $6 million of cap space and come close to doubling their cap room in one move.
Players like Michael Griffin and Kamerion Wimbley also have significant cap numbers, but they might be better candidates for restructuring than outright cuts.
Opportunities on the Roster
With Verner likely leaving in free agency the Titans have a spot open at corner for the first time in a few years. Verner and Jason McCourty have locked down those spots for some time but in 2013 Blidi Wreh-Wilson saw 93 snaps and played well in that limited time. His preseason was less successful, playing 98 snaps and surrendering a pair of touchdowns and a 126.5 passer rating into his coverage. The Titans will likely look to add a corner but maybe his regular season performance will earn him a look at the starting spot.
Projected lineups by team:
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