We are just two days into the NFL Free Agency period. The Tennessee Titans made all of their moves so far in the “tampering” window, and things have since slowed down.
We learned two things about Jon Robinson’s 2021 offseason strategy this week: They want to achieve balance on both sides of the ball and will no longer tolerate poor defensive play.
Letting Jonnu Smith and Corey Davis walk to eventually sign Denico Autry and Bud Dupree made sense for achieving balance.
Jonnu Smith ended up getting a massive deal in New England.
Jonnu Smith contract:
Signing Bonus: $15M
Salaries: $1M, $9M, $10M, $11M
Annual per game roster bonuses: Up to $1M
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) March 16, 2021
Smith ended up getting a four-year, $50M deal with the Patriots, a team that created a lot of waves in the pond on Monday.
Davis signed with the New York Jets on a three-year, $37.5M deal. Both contracts were something the Tennessee Titans wouldn’t be able to afford with all of their needs.
They signed former Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Bud Dupree and former AFC South Rival Denico Autry, formerly with the Indianapolis Colts.
Dupree should help the Titans with their edge-rushing issues, and Autry is a player that can come in and create disruptions and get sacks from the nose tackle position.
Deconstructing a defense that gave out first downs and headaches has also been a top priority. The team began by releasing two defensive starters, Malcolm Butler and Kenny Vaccaro.
Then, Jon Robinson and the Titans blindsided everyone with a couple of releases on Tuesday afternoon. One of them being cornerback Adoree Jackson.
Titans release CB Adoree’ Jackson + RT Dennis Kelly
Details 📰 » https://t.co/bf3dLlhqH0
— Tennessee Titans (@Titans) March 16, 2021
Adoree Jackson was drafted in the first round in 2017 and has played some meaningful football for the organization, although he was never a true standout corner.
It doesn’t seem the Tennessee Titans will be bringing back DaQuan Jones either. That would be another starter lost on defense.
Losing Butler, Vaccaro, and Jackson sucks from a skill standpoint for the secondary. However, the Titans signed Janoris Jenkins to help fill the void a little.
Titans signing former Saints’ CB Janoris Jenkins, per his agent @Neilsschwartz.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 16, 2021
The Tennessee Titans’ cornerbacks are Janoris Jenkins, Kareem Orr, Breon Borders, Kristian Fulton, and Chris Jackson.
On the flip side, the team freed up a good chunk of cap space.
Adoree’ Jackson saves #Titans $10.244 vs. cap (& in cash).
Dennis Kelly saves them $5.166 M w/ $3.166 in dead money. Per @Jason_OTC.
So $15.41 in new cap space and CB is now right there with WR as desperate need as unproven second-year second-round pick Kristian Fulton is it.
— Paul Kuharsky (@PaulKuharskyNFL) March 16, 2021
The Tennessee Titans created more holes, though. They still have glaring needs at defensive back, offensive tackle, and wide receiver.
They had a need at inside linebacker, but the Titans retained Jayon Brown on a shockingly cheap deal, to everyone’s surprise.
LB Jayon Brown returning to the #Titans on a 1-year deal worth $5.25M, per source. Turned down other offers to return to revamped Titans D and reset his budding market prior to his elbow injury last season.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) March 17, 2021
Avenging the losses of Smith and Davis with two players who had a combined 15.5 sacks in 2020 is a clutch move for the Titans defense, but how will the Titans avenge the losses of Jackson, Butler, and Vaccaro?
Janoris Jenkins definitely should not be the only answer to that question.
Luckily, there are plenty of defensive backs and wide receivers available for the Tennessee Titans in free agency. There are also some quality players at those positions in this year’s NFL Draft.
Jon Robinson deconstructed and reconstructed a team that went 11-5 and won the AFC South in 2020.
It’s too early to call it a failure or a success, but Jon Robinson still has a lot of work left if he wants the Tennessee Titans competing at a high level in 2021.
Featured image by Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports