Here Today, Gone Tomorrow?
In 2015, Da’Norris Searcy signed a 4-year, $23.75M, free agent contract to become the Titans answer at strong safety. Two short years later, his role and future in Tennessee are in question.
Although Searcy’s numbers have dipped slightly from his Buffalo Bills days, his play has been mostly solid during his time with the Titans – In 2015, his overall game and versatility provided an upgrade over aging veterans George Wilson (solid, but limited like 2016’s Rashad Johnson) and Bernard Pollard (tone setter with coverage & penalty producing liabilities) or youngster Marqueston Huff (fringe player who never quite developed). Despite that, he never solidified himself as the answer, which resulted in the Titans using a four-man safety rotation in 2016. In Searcy’s defense, his Titans career has coincided with some terrible cornerback play that has required him to do more than desired and has limited his effectiveness.
The New Answer?
One of the first areas addressed during the 2017 free agency period was the strong safety position where the Titans wasted little time inking Johnathan Cyprien to a 4-year, $25M, contract.
Will Searcy be around for the start of the 2017 season? It’s quite possible, as his ability would provide excellent depth, assuming he’s not part of another safety rotation – He’s a reliable, starting caliber, pro. The issue? His $6.75M cap hit makes him expendable.
My opinion is that he’s a placeholder – Still on the roster until the draft and post draft roster moves shake out. Could he survive? Doubtful.
Drafting a Safety
If the Titans address the safety position in the draft, Searcy’s future could be in serious jeopardy. Huh?
- Titans Draft SS Future: If the Titans can’t move off the #5 pick and the best player available is Jamal Adams, Searcy would become the backup to Kevin Byard at free safety – Not ideal & Tennessee could find a better solution. Maybe its converted cornerback Curtis Riley.
- Titans Draft FS Future: If the best player available is Malik Hooker, Byard would move to SS & Searcy would once again find himself at FS as the team’s 4th best safety.
- Titans Draft SS Depth: Same scenario as above.
- Titans Draft S (SS/FS Combo) Depth: Less expensive version of Searcy who can fill in at either safety position. Then again maybe newly acquired, special team ace Brynden Trawick is already viewed as such.
- Titans Draft FS Depth: Searcy would possibly be viewed as the teams 3rd best safety and could be somewhat safe…for the time being.
Post Draft Roster Adjustments
If Searcy survives a safety-less draft, he still needs to weather Jon Robinson – A GM with a keen eye for talent who’s always looking for value and upgrades. A backup earning $6M should keep Searcy squarely in his crosshairs.
- Restructured Contract – If the Titans still see a role for Searcy they could attempt to restructure his contract. If either side balks, he most likely walks.
- Post Draft Releases – Plenty of players will become available after the draft. Will any provide better play or value than Searcy?
- Existing Free Agents – There are a plethora of current free agents that could fill needs after the draft. Someone like the Titans own Daimion Stafford could provide similar play for less pay.
Da’Norris Searcy is a well respected player that could have a significant role with the Titans moving forward. In order for that to happen however, he must first survive an offseason fraught with employment peril…