Safety Johnathan Cyprien is under contract with the Tennessee Titans for the next two seasons, but that doesn’t mean he’ll be playing in Nashville in 2019.
Cyprien, who signed a four year deal with the Titans before the 2017 season, missed the entire 2018 season after suffering a torn ACL in training camp.
As a result of Cyprien’s injury, the Titans signed former New Orleans Saints safety Kenny Vaccaro to a one year deal.
Vaccaro ended up playing quite well for the Titans in 2018, finishing the season with 58 tackles and two interceptions in 13 games. According to Pro Football Focus, Vaccaro had only four missed tackles the entire season (18th best among safeties) and had his second highest graded season of his career. He turns 28 on February 15, so he’s still in his prime.
It would seem that Tennessee has a major decision on their hands. While it’s possible they could keep Cyprien on the roster and re-sign Vaccaro, it doesn’t seem likely (and it wouldn’t be a smart use of resources). Essentially, the Titans have to make a choice between the two safeties.
If Cyprien is released, it would be a dead cap hit of $2.25 million according to Spotrac. The move would save the Titans a little more than $11 million over the next two years.
Here’s a look at what a Vaccaro contract extension could look like.
Cyprien knows there’s a reasonable possibility that he won’t be back with the Titans in 2019, but he’s made it clear that he wants to return to Nashville. The veteran defensive back recently told Titans Online “I know I want to be a Titan, and I feel like there’s a lot I have left to prove”. Cyprien added “I feel like I wasn’t able to reach my potential, and the goals I set for myself, and I know I can bring a lot to the team”.
There’s always a chance that Titans general manager Jon Robinson wants the depth at the position and both players are on the roster next season. But it’s hard to see the Titans paying over $5 million a year for a backup safety.
We should get some clarity on the situation in the coming weeks, as the Titans are forced to make some tough decisions.
Featured image via Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports/