Tennessee Titans' Top Remaining Offseason Priorities
A lot of major changes have already happened within the Tennessee Titans organization since the 2013 season came to an end, including the addition of new head coach Ken Whisenhunt.
The Titans definitely weren't shy in free agency by making a few key additions on both sides of the ball.
Even after all of the action in free agency, there are still other priorities for this team that need to be resolved sooner rather than later.
The draft is nearly a month away, and the picture is more clear now on what direction the Titans should go with their drafts picks.
Here are the remaining offseason priorities for the Titans, now that the primary focus has shifted from free agency to the draft.
Cut Ties with Chris Johnson Soon
It will be strange to see Chris Johnson in another uniform, but it has to be done in order for the Titans to move forward with their offense. The relationship just doesn't make sense for either side anymore.
Johnson still seems to want top money, despite his gradual decline over the past few seasons. The Titans can't afford to tie up a bunch of money into a player that really hasn't helped them get anywhere other than a middle of the road team in the AFC.
However, Johnson could make sense for other teams who have the money to spend, like the Jets who could be interested, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, who recently tweeted about this possibility.
The Titans need to wipe their hands clean of the relationship with Johnson as soon as possible. It will allow this offense to finally start taking shape, once Johnson is out of the picture.
There were definitely some good times, but those good times have been almost non-existent for quite awhile now. If Johnson was trending upward, then the argument could be made that the Titans should try harder to retain Johnson.
Looking ahead to life without Johnson, the Titans will have options in 2014. They can choose to draft a running back to move into a committee along with Shonn Greene, Jackie Battle and Dexter McCluster. They can also choose to just move ahead with what they have, which is a nice combination of guys with different strengths.
It's important to remember that productive running backs burst onto the scene all of the time in the NFL. Odds are, the Titans will find a suitable replacement for Johnson's declining production.
Come Up with a Plan for Kamerion Wimbley
There is still a possibility that the Titans keep Kamerion Wimbley for 2104, despite his $6 million contract that he's currently owed.
Considering that Wimbley has managed just nine sacks in his two seasons with the Titans, it's hard to justify spending too much to keep him. If Wimbley decides to take less money, then the Titans should certainly explore that option.
Wimbley could end up being valuable to this team in 2014, since he's more comfortable playing in a 3-4 defense that the Titans are changing to. His production would almost certainly go up from his first two seasons with the Titans.
The Titans seem to be taking a wait-and-see approach to this situation right now, according to Titans beat writer Terry McCormick.
Thus far #Titans have not yet spoken to him about reducing Kamerion Wimbley's $6m base for 2014. Unless made a June 1 cut dead $ would (1/2)— Terry McCormick (@terrymc13) March 7, 2014
It will be interesting to see how this all unfolds. Keeping Wimbley would give the Titans more freedom in the draft to address other areas in the first and second rounds. He just have to come with the right price tag, and $6 million would be overspending.
Getting a Viable Backup Quarterback
The Titans basically traded Ryan Fitzpatrick for Charlie Whitehurst as their backup quarterback to Jake Locker.
Since Locker's durability is still a big cause for concern, it's also a big concern who is lining up behind Locker.
Whitehurst may work as an effective mentor to Locker learning Ken Whisenhunt's offense, but there's no reason to think that he would be an effective backup quarterback if he was thrust into the starting role.
The Titans have to get a quarterback at some point in the draft to be a project in case Locker has another sub-par year.
It won't be an ideal situation no matter who is backing up Locker if that backup has to be rushed in as the starting quarterback, like how Fitzpatrick was last season. Since that is the case, the Titans might as well have a young quarterback developing.
The Titans aren't going to draft a quarterback at 11th overall to sit behind Locker, so a quarterback that is drafted will come mid-draft. Aaron Murray should be a consideration, along with a handful of other quarterbacks.
Finding a Replacement for Rob Bironas
After seven very productive seasons, Rob Bironas was unexpectedly cut by the Titans, leaving a void to fill at kicker.
The fact was that Bironas was owed a lot of money, for a kicker, this upcoming season, and his accuracy from long range was starting to dip.
So now the big question is where the Titans will go from here. Replacing Bironas with a young kicker is a strong possibility, and Maikon Bonani will be in the running for becoming the next Titans kicker, according to John Glennon of The Tennessean.
Bonani has a strong leg that gives reason for optimism that he's the guy moving forward, but accuracy is still a concern.
They could also end up going with an undrafted free agent to come in to compete with Bonani for the job.
The Titans are definitely taking a risk by heading into 2014 without a proven kicker. Preseason will give us a good idea if the kicking will be a liability or a reliable backup plan, if a drive stalls.
What to Do with the 11th Overall Pick?
There are still so many possible scenarios surrounding what the Titans do with their 11th overall pick in the draft. A lot of that has to do with the difficulty of projecting how the first 10 picks will unfold.
The Titans could very well end up trading back to gain more total picks in the draft. Stockpiling draft picks may emerge as a higher priority than keeping the 11th overall pick and possibly reaching for a player.
What the Titans have done in free agency with the additions of Shaun Phillips and Wesley Woodyard make taking a linebacker in the first round not a for sure thing.
It's logical that the Titans decide to take the best player available, and that could be a wide range of players that could be a cornerback, wide receiver, defensive line or even a tight end.
The latest mock draft by Chris Burke of SI.com has the Titans going with versatile defensive tackle Aaron Donald, but the latest mock draft by Rob Rang of CBSSports.com still has the Titans going with linebacker Anthony Barr.
Let the debate continue on what the Titans decide to do, because it's really anybody's guess.
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