It’s time for our annual Titans free agency mailbag! Thanks to all who submitted questions via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
In this post, I’ll be answering the best questions that were submitted with analysis and some of my gut feelings on what the Titans will likely do when free agency opens up in just over a week.
mariusf_212 on Instagram: “Think Ngakoue would be the best addition to the edge rush…would you go with him or draft a player/sign a different free agent?”
Yannick Ngakoue is a very talented player. He’s a superb athlete and, at his best, an electrifying pass rusher.
The problem is that Jacksonville, Ngakoue’s current team, knows that. So, even though he has expressed his desire to leave the organization as a free agent, it seems likely that the Jaguars will give him the franchise tag.
That means that getting Ngakoue would require a trade, something the Titans can’t afford to do. They’re losing a lot of players to free agency, and filling up a roster will require draft picks.
While Ngakoue would certainly help the Titans, they will probably look in a different direction, unless Jacksonville’s asking price is lower than expected.
matt_schmid1155 on Instagram: “If we tag Henry, what would our remaining cap space be?”
The 2020 franchise tag figure for running backs is likely to be $10.372 million, according to a projection by former NFL agent Joel Corry.
That’s well under the $14.275 million average annual value I projected Derrick Henry to get with a contract extension.
Franchise tagging Henry would leave the Titans with around $40 million of cap space, according to Over the Cap.
Jason Harkey on Facebook: “Will we seek cornerback help if we don’t re-sign Logan Ryan?”
At this point, my hunch is that the Titans will move on from Ryan. There’s been essentially no noise on that front over the past month, and the Titans are likely much more concerned about Jack Conklin, Ryan Tannehill and Henry.
Ryan is a very good slot corner, but the playoffs proved that he’s not fast enough to keep up with smaller, speedier receivers. That being the case, he may not have a ton of value for the Titans anymore.
The Titans would have to find a replacement for Ryan if they moved on from him, and it would need to be someone who isn’t currently in the building.
However, due to budgetary concerns, I bet that they will look for that replacement in the draft instead of free agency.
Kdg71Kenny on Twitter: “With Conklin getting lots of interest, if the Titans are not bringing him back, isn’t tag/trade the best business decision?”
Yes. It is.
In a scenario where the Titans 1) don’t want to bring Conklin back and 2) don’t need the franchise tag for any of their other impending free agents, tagging and trading Conklin would be a very wise move.
The team loses nothing in that scenario and gets a free draft pick. The NFL has started to catch onto that idea in recent years, which is why we’ve seen more and more deals like the ones involving Jadeveon Clowney and Jarvis Landry.
Again, though, that all hinges on the Titans not needing the franchise tag for, say, Henry or Tannehill.
thomas.morris93 on Instagram: “Will Logan Woodside become the backup this season to whoever signs in free agency?”
Logan Woodside is a great guy to have as your scout team quarterback, but the Titans need to find someone else to be their backup in 2020.
Every single year in the NFL, at least one team proves the importance of having a quality backup quarterback. Injuries happen, and teams have to have quality depth under center just as they would at any other position.
After watching Woodside for an entire Training Camp and preseason, it’s clear to me that he’s not the sort of guy you want to have to win a game if your starting quarterback goes down. He doesn’t have a big arm, he’s small and there’s just nothing special about him.
The Titans need to, as they did last year, make a concerted effort to find a legitimate backup quarterback either in free agency or the draft.
tmango3 on Instagram: “Are they going to tag Henry?”
Franchise tagging Henry, as I discussed a few questions earlier, would be cheaper in 2020 than giving him a contract extension. However, I believe that trying to work out an extension would be the best option for the Titans.
In my contract projection for Henry, I wrote about the fact that most recent running back extensions have been vastly front-loaded in terms of guarantees. That means that a longterm extension for Henry, in reality, wouldn’t be so long term.
He’s also likely got a few years left at his current ability before age starts to wear him down. If the Titans are serious about Henry being the centerpiece of their offense, and they should be, locking up Henry, now, is the way to go.
John Domes on Facebook: “Should the Titans really consider Clowney if available? I mean, when was the last time he played a full season?”
The best argument in favor of the Titans making a move to bring in Clowney is the fact that he had the best season of his career when Mike Vrabel was his defensive coordinator in Houston. He had 9.5 sacks that year.
There are, however, several quality arguments against the Titans doing so, foremost among them is Clowney’s lack of pass rush acumen.
The former first-overall pick is supremely athletic and does a great job of setting the edge in the run game, but he’s proven time and time again to be nothing more than an above-average pass rusher.
The Titans proved in the playoffs that they need someone upfront to affect the quarterback. Clowney is a good player, but he doesn’t fill that need.
If Jon Robinson and Vrabel believe that they can get good pass rush production out of Clowney, then kicking the tires on him wouldn’t be the worst idea.
But he’s going to cost a lot of cap space, and there’s a chance he doesn’t even fill a need.
dylpeepee on Instagram: “How realistic is Brady coming to Tennessee?”
There have been so many rumors, reports and speculation about Tom Brady and whether he’ll play for the Titans in 2020 that it’s been hard to keep up.
Do the Titans really like Brady, or are they using him as leverage to get a cheaper deal with Tannehill? Why did Vrabel FaceTime Brady at a Syracuse basketball game? If the Titans want Tannehill, why haven’t they already locked him up?
The list of questions, many of which are valid, could go on and on.
The reality of the situation is that, probably, no one will know for sure, either way, on Brady’s future until teams can begin negotiating with free agents on March 16.
My gut says that Tannehill will be the Titans’ QB in 2020, but it is up in the air.
Cover image: Steven Bisig & Denny Medley/USA Today