The Tennessee Titans addressed another one of their big free agency needs on Tuesday by agreeing to sign pass rusher Cameron Wake to a three year deal worth $23 million.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) March 13, 2019
Since becoming a full time starter in 2010, Wake has missed only 12 games. Nine of those missed games were due to an achilles injury in 2015.
The former Penn State Nittany Lion has been one of the league’s most consistent pass rushers, but at 37 years old it seems pretty clear that he’s not a longterm answer for the Titans. While he will certainly make the Titans’ defense better in 2019, his production will likely continue to slowly decline over the duration of his three year contract.
I think it says a lot about the Titans’ belief in Harold Landry, last year’s second round pick, that they elected to sign an aging veteran instead of a young pass rusher with upside like Eli Harold or Shaquil Barrett (both are players that I think would’ve given the Titans’ a potentially deadly pass rush for years to come if paired with Landry).
Wake will certainly be a force to be reckoned with next season, and he’ll be a tremendous mentor for Landry. But this move signifies that Tennessee believes Landry can become a Pro-Bowl caliber pass rusher.
Because let’s face it, teams don’t go to Super Bowls unless they have a elite pass rushers.
#Titans HC Mike Vrabel said about pass rusher Harold Landry: “He’s in the building all the time. Always in the weight room. We have to send him home sometimes.”
— Trevor Sikkema (@TampaBayTre) February 27, 2019
Landry had a moderately successful rookie season, compiling 4.5 sacks in 15 games (three of which he started). By comparison, Khali Mack had four sacks as a rookie in 16 games and JJ Watt had 5.5 sacks in 16 games (both Mack and Watt started all games in their respective rookie seasons).
Obviously it’s too early to tell if Landry will be anything close to Mack and Watt, but there’s definitely reason for optimism.
And it’s obvious that Tennessee is optimistic about his potential.
Adding Wake will take some of the pressure off Landry and allow him to develop in a more organic way. And if the gamble doesn’t pay off, the Titans can always punt and look to future drafts for their franchise pass rusher.
But I have a feeling Landry, who was a steal in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft, will end up being a solid/reliable player for the Titans over the next several years.
When Harold Landry refines his bend in his sophomore season he’s gonna be a stud. pic.twitter.com/9bUJnxnmPZ
— Johnny Kinsley (@Brickwallblitz) March 8, 2019
Featured image via Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports