Is Tennessee Open to Adding a Receiver Prior to the Draft?
Is it time to panic? Not yet, but it would behoove the Titans to boost their numbers at wide receiver prior to the draft. Are their any decent options still available? Yes and no. The free (mostly expensive) agency window for the few WR1 caliber receivers slammed shut long ago, but there are a few players (WR2/WR3 types) who could improve the quality depth in Tennessee.
Youth & Upside
Brian Quick (27 years old – $5.6M projected/season) – Has accumulated 1,500 receiving yards over his 5-year career. He’s a big receiver (6’3”) that won’t stretch the field and needs some polishing.
Kamar Aiken (27 years old – $7.5M projected/season) – Has contributed 1,500 yards receiving over a 5-year career – The majority coming during the last three seasons. He’s not very dynamic, but does provide consistency under the right circumstances.
Michael Floyd (27 years old – $8.6M projected/season) – The best of the bunch, but he’s an off field question mark who has never quite lived up to his potential. As disappointing as he has been, he’s probably good for 750 yards and 5 touchdowns minimum per season even if he doesn’t improve or mature.
None of these guys are worth the projected money – The on field value is negated by the inflated expense. That said, Floyd on a less expensive “prove it” deal could be worth the risk – Not an ideal culture match, but athletically he’s a borderline WR1 and the Titans have a plethora of veteran, team first guys that could keep him in line.
Wisdom & Experience
Anquan Boldin (36 years young – $3.0M projected/season – “guesstimate”) – His Y/C average (8.7) plummeted in 2016, but the old, savvy pro still managed to catch 67 balls with 8 TDs at a bargain basement price of $2.6M. His game has never been predicated on speed, so age is just a number…like the reasonable sum of his next contract.
Boldin is an upgrade over Harry Douglas who would provide a similar locker room presence. He’s worth signing as an insurance policy that has the potential to occasionally work his way into the lineup.
The Titans could also decide to trade for a receiver with WR1 capabilities – Someone young, talented, and in the final (non-option) year of their contract similar to Brandin Cooks prior to his trade to New England. Who qualifies?
Mike Evans – (23 years old – 1 year remaining at $4.7M) – Has obtained 1,000 yards receiving every season since becoming a pro. No way this trade materializes for one of Tampa Bay’s best, young players at the detriment of their franchise QB. The Buccaneers #19 for the Titans #5, anyone? The Bucs need safety help and would have to replace Evans. Would Tampa consider Da’Norris Searcy and/or Harry Douglas as deal sweeteners?
Davante Adams – (24 years old – 1 year remaining at $1.3M) – He’s coming off the best season (73 receptions for 997 yards with 12 TD) of his career. Do the Packers have enough weapons in Jordy Nelsen, Randall Cobb and newly acquired TE Martellus Bennett to let Adams walk? How about the Packers #29 for the Titans #18? Plus Brice McCain and/or Harry Douglas? A late round draft choice?
Sammy Watkins – (23 years old – 1 year remaining at $6.4M) – The high risk, high reward option. His continual health issues and complaints (lack of targets, cultural issues, etc.) may sway a team with only six picks in the upcoming draft to make a deal. Buffalo’s #10 for Tennessee’s #5? A healthy…and mature (ifs) Watkins is capable of becoming a top ten NFL wide receiver. If he works on becoming more of a technician, his athletic ability, speed and hands could turn him into the perfect WR1 option in Nashville. If he doesn’t transcend to meet those lofty expectations, his 2017 contact expires and the Titans move on without losing much in the process.
In the vein of continual upgrades to the Titans roster, inquiring about Watkins, Adams, Floyd and Boldin makes sense to me…keeping the compensation and value in mind. That said, Tennessee may decide to stand pat and upgrade through the draft or by adding released veterans in the aftermath. Whatever route Tennessee takes, it better lead to a few more wide receivers for a roster currently thin at the position.