2017 Tennessee Titans Offseason Preview
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2016 Season Recap
Tennessee made quite a big leap in 2016. After finishing the 2015 season last in the AFC South with a 3-13 record, the Titans, thanks to improvements in a lot of areas. Marcus Mariota’s progress under center has been impressive. Mariota has 33 touchdown passes against zero interceptions in the red zone during the first two years in the league. Perhaps even more notable the past season was the Titans’ rushing offense that ranked third overall—a big jump from 25th back in the previous year.
DeMarco Murray’s presence could do that to a team plus the Titans got a young and promising backfield piece in Derrick Henry. Pass protection also was key to the Titans’ resurgence. They allowed just 28 sacks in 2016—almost cutting the 54 sacks they surrendered the year before.
Top Free Agency Needs
Sustaining the Titans’ success would be a challenge for the team’s front office, which has to make some free agency-related decisions. General manager Jon Robinson, however, has a relatively spacious cap space to work with. The Titans have close to $67 million worth of cap space, not including the $24 million rollover money. In other words, the Titans can go buck wild on free agency to address some needs on the roster.
Tennessee is looking to upgrade its receiving corps. Rishard Matthews and Tajae Sharpe form a decent downfield threat but it’s going to take more than them for the Titans to elevate their passing game. With lots of money to spend, Robinson could definitely woo someone like Alshon Jeffrey or a DeSean Jackson to come play in Tennessee.
Strengthening a questionable secondary would also be something Robinson has in mind this offseason after the Titans ranked 30th in pass defense in 2016. Among the targets here are impending free agent quarterbacks Malcolm Butler and Stephon Gilmore.
Top Draft Needs
Cornerback. The AFC South is flush with wide receiver talents. The Titans could use their fifth overall pick on a cornerback to fortify their flimsy secondary and keep in step with other teams in the division.
Tight End. Sure, the Titans signed tight end Tim Semisch early January but that’s not the kind of move that impacts the position much. Anthony Fasano and Phillip Supernaw could be leaving for free agency and it’s not like the Titans would spend top money keeping a 32-year old tight end and a dude who only had four catches in 2016. Adding a tight end through the draft is high on the team’s priority list.
Wide Receiver. Mariota will appreciate a better receiving crew next season. Adding wide receivers to supplement those that performed well last year and replace those that’ll likely leave (Harry Douglas, Marc Mariani) could be done in the upcoming draft.
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