Now that the dust has settled on the Super Bowl, the attention turns to the offseason. Already teams are making trades and meeting with free agents that could put them over the hump. The Eagles won the Super Bowl by nailing free agency and making the right trades. For the Tennessee Titans, the offseason is all about rebuilding the offense around Marcus Mariota.
True, they hired a defensive head coach in Mike Vrabel but Vrabel is there to lend a steady hand. Coordinator Matt LaFleur is in charge of the offense and he will utilize a more up-tempo approach. The Titans will have roughly $49 million in cap space to spend and more if they make the appropriate moves. Here is a list of moves the Titans need to make before they begin adding to their roster.
1. Cut DeMarco Murray
Former head coach Mike Mularkey leaned heavily on the 30-year-old running back last season. Murray is likely beginning his decline and is not worth the amount of money Tennessee is paying him. Cutting him would free up $6.5 million in space and give third-year back Derrick Henry the starting job. Henry will likely become a Todd Gurley–like figure in LaFleur’s offense. They can either draft or go dumpster diving for a backup running back.
2. Pick Up Mariota’s Fifth-Year Option
This is a no-brainer as he was drafted to be their franchise quarterback. LaFleur will need to get the most out of the fifth-year starter. He and Sean McVay rebuilt Jared Goff so it stands to reason he can rebuild Mariota. If he can then they will lock Mariota up to a long-term deal next season. For now, they get him for one more cost-controlled year while they determine if he’s the wave of the future.
The Titans’ offensive line was a major strength last season. Mariota took a lot of shots but that was a product of Mularkey’s stagnant offense. Kline was a waiver wire pickup from the Patriots and he paid off in the run game. Lewan already has two Pro Bowls under his belt and while he’ll be expensive, he’s worth it. He’s the franchise tackle that is in charge of protecting the franchise quarterback. His success equals Mariota’s long-term success. The Titans will likely spend the offseason bargain hunting and or drafting interior help on the line. Lewan gives their outside protection for the foreseeable future.
4. Trade for Martavis Bryant
The Titans are rumored to be in the hunt to trade for Dolphins receiver Jarvis Landry. Landry was tagged this week which means trading for him won’t come cheap. The Titans would have to give up multiple first-round picks and take on a $16 million price tag for a year. Landry is a great slot receiver but at that price, it doesn’t seem worth it. Martavis Bryant, on the other hand, is a tall, explosive receiver who is available because of off-the-field issues. The Titans likely wouldn’t have to give up as much and he’s on a cheaper deal. Mariota needs a home-run threat at receiver and Bryant could use the change of scenery.
5. Scour the Bargain Bin for a Pass Rusher
The Titans are likely to use their draft picks to build up the interior of their offensive line and to add weapons for Mariota. Defensively, they need to add more firepower in the front seven. Jurrell Casey and Wesley Woodyard are capable rushers. Brian Orakpo is getting up there in years and after that, the team’s pass rush drops off.
They need to add some quality veteran help and unfortunately this offseason doesn’t have much in the pass rush market. The Titans need to go bargain hunting on the interior of their defensive line perhaps for Star Lotulelei or any cap casualties that are coming down the pike. Mike Vrabel runs a pass-rush heavy front and the Titans need to restock the cupboard in that department.
The Titans have the pieces to build on their playoff team from last year. The AFC South will be more competitive this year and they need to find a way to keep up. Luckily they have the cap and draft resources to do so.