Free agency unofficially starts today as teams can franchise players to keep them from leaving town. Each NFL team can put the franchise tag on one player that is a free agent to keep them from hitting the open market should the player choose not to re-sign with them. There are a lot of big names hitting free agency on March 9th but many are expected to re-sign with their respective teams.
The Titans have the first pick in the 2016 NFL Draft and have needs in the secondary and on the offensive line. Laremy Tunsil is thought to be the top offensive tackle in the draft and Jalen Ramsey is the top corner/safety. Tennessee can draft either player at #1 but free agency could make their decision easier should they not trade back in the draft.
Cordy Glenn is a free agent left tackle from Buffalo who could start for just about any team in the NFL. Should he not re-sign with the Bills he will likely to receive the franchise tag. Should Buffalo put the tag on Glenn it would cost Buffalo $13.7 million. The team will have until March 1st to decide whether or not to franchise him. If the Bills don’t put the tag on him Glenn he will become a free agent on March 9th is the two parties cannot come to an agreement on an extension.
If Glenn doesn’t re-sign with Buffalo he’s a guy that Tennessee could go after. He would give the Titans a solid left tackle and the team could move Taylor Lewan to right tackle to give Marcus Mariota some much needed protection next year.
There are other tackles hitting free agency like Mitchell Schwartz from Cleveland and Andre Smith from Cincinnati that could also alter the NFL draft by signing with Tennessee. If the Titans wind up with a good left or right tackle they may not go after Tunsil with the first pick and go after Jalen Ramsey.
But there are some pretty good corners that could be available in free agency that might shift the Titans’ strategy as well. Safety Eric Berry and cornerback Josh Norman will likely re-sign with their teams but if they were to be available Tennessee would be wise to pursue them. Berry played football at the University of Tennessee and might have interest in coming back to the Volunteer State. Janoris Jenkins is a more likely target who could upgrade the Titans’ secondary right away and give the team the legit corner that they haven’t had since Cortland Finnegan left Nashville in 2010.
If new Tennessee GM Jon Robinson is able to sign a defensive back and/or tackle before the draft it instantly changes the strategy for the Titans and will impact the entire draft.
There have been rumblings out of Nashville that Tennessee wants to trade back and acquire more picks. With so many holes on the team that’s a pretty smart strategy. But if the Titans were able to sign Eric Berry or Mitchell Schwartz it hurts their leverage should they decide to trade the pick. Every NFL GM would know that Jalen Ramsey and Laremy Tunsil are off their draft board as their #1 need and it hurts their trade value.
Tennessee really needs to create the illusion that they will take any player and that they are getting offers from other teams. It would really help their cause Jared Goff or Carson Wentz blow up at the Combine and shoot to the top of every draft board. The best case scenario for Jon Robinson is for several teams to get in a bidding wear to leap frog Cleveland to get the best QB on the board. The Titans have Mariota and don’t need a quarterback. The Browns at #2 do. If the Cowboys and 49ers want Jared Goff and don’t want Cleveland to get him the Titans could land a ton of picks in return.
There are so many different scenarios and we won’t know what’s going to happen until the Commissioner takes the podium in April.