Before the start of free agency, I made a list of five key positions I thought the Tennessee Titans should address.
I listed several players at each of those positions that I thought the Titans should sign.
So far, general manager Jon Robinson has added one player from each of the group of players I suggested, except for one group — edge rusher.
The Titans did, however, add a pass rusher in free agency. They signed Cam Wake, a 37 year old who still has plenty left in the tank, to a three year deal (though I can’t see Wake playing all three years in Nashville, I doubt the Titans will be paying Wake to play when he’s 39).
The addition of Wake definitely makes the Titans a better team, but I don’t think signing an aging pass rusher should be the final move Tennessee makes when it comes to pressuring the quarterback.
Aside from quarterback, edge rusher is arguably the most important position in football. If a team doesn’t have a dominant pass rush, they probably aren’t going very far in the playoffs.
The Titans could always choose to add an edge rusher in the draft, but they’d likely have to trade up to land someone who could make an impact in 2019. They already have Harold Landry on the roster. Landry has plenty of potential, but he’s still young and shouldn’t be counted on as the Titans’ “featured” pass rusher just yet.
That’s why I think the Titans should absolutely sign Detroit Lions edge rusher Eli Harold.
This probably wouldn’t seem like a “splash” signing to fans.
Of course, that’s because it’s not.
Signing a player like Harold is the ultimate “sign high upside player for cheap” move. And I think it would be a wise move for the Titans to make.
Harold, who just turned 25, is a former third round pick of the San Francisco 49ers. He has nine sacks over the first four years of his career. He showed plenty of upside in Detroit last season, but he was completely left out of the pass rushing rotation at times.
Signing Harold would be a very Patriots like move to make. Grabbing young, forgotten talent typically works out well for New England (look at Trent Brown for example).
Let’s be honest — the Titans probably aren’t making another “huge” free agency signing. According to estimations from Music City Miracles, the Titans have around $26 million left in cap space. As MCM notes, the Titans have decisions on Marcus Mariota and Jack Conklin to make. They also have to pay safety Kevin Byard next off-season (who won’t be cheap at all), which means they need to carry some salary cap space over.
Signing Harold to a cheap-ish deal would be the perfect cap to a solid off-season for the Titans. If he doesn’t fulfill his potential, they can simply move on. If he does, then the combination of Harold/Wake/Landry could be deadly in the AFC South.
This move would also allow the Titans to completely narrow their focus to drafting a defensive tackle (or tight end, though I doubt either of the Iowa tight ends will still be around at No. 19) in the first round.
The Titans have undoubtedly made their team a lot better heading into 2019, but I think they’d be making a mistake if they called it a day already.
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