The NFL’s “legal tampering period” started today, meaning the Tennessee Titans can begin setting the parameters on free agent deals that can officially be signed when the new league year starts on Thursday.
It’s no secret that Tennessee is looking to become active players in this year’s shopping frenzy as there are several players on the open market that can fill holes in the roster.
After all, they have more money than most to shop with this offseason.
So…how successful has Tennessee been in acquiring free agents? I’m glad you asked…because today we’ll count down the top five free agent acquisitions on the current roster.
5. Ben Jones – CenterEmbed from Getty Images
Jones was one of the first significant free agents to take a chance on rookie general manager Jon Robinson and the new-look Titans when he signed a 4 year, 17.5 million dollar deal last spring. After spending his first four years in Houston (2012-2015), Jones became the anchor and unsung hero of a retooled offensive line that mauled opponents on the ground in 2016. His leadership and physical style of play was just what the Titans needed to usher in their exotic smash mouth identity, which was successful by all accounts.
4. Ryan Succop – KickerEmbed from Getty Images
Speaking of unsung heroes, place kicker Ryan Succop has been just that since joining the Titans in 2014 after spending his first five seasons in Kansas City. Succop led the team in scoring in each of his three seasons in Tennessee, and has not missed a field goal under 50 yards since becoming a Titan (37 for 37). And who can forget his game-winning 53 yard field goal against his old team in frigid Arrowhead Stadium to give the Titans their biggest and most thrilling upset of the 2016 season?
3. Rishard Matthews – Wide ReceiverEmbed from Getty Images
And keeping with the theme of unsung heroes, the free agent acquisition of wide receiver Rishard Matthews was the biggest move for Tennessee that no one noticed initially last offseason. But after co-leading the team in receptions with tight end Delanie Walker (65), leading the team in receiving yards (945), and touchdowns (9 ), he became a household name in the Music City. Matthews set career highs in all of those categories last season with the Titans after spending his first four seasons in Miami. He also finished sixth in the league in touchdown receptions…more than Dez Bryant, T.Y. Hilton, Brandin Cooks, and yes…even Julio Jones himself. Not bad for a “second tier” receiver signed to a modest contract.
2. Bian Orakpo – Outside LinebackerEmbed from Getty Images
2015 free agent acquisition Brian Orakpo was the opposite of unsung prior to his arrival in Nashville. He was brought in to be a heavy contributor after multiple Pro Bowl seasons during his stint with the Washington Redskins, and he has more than delivered during his two-year stint in Tennessee. Rak returned to the Pro Bowl last season after posting 10.5 sacks, and has a combined 18 sacks as a Titan. His relentless pressure and veteran leadership re-shaped the identity of a defense that was once considered a push-over prior to his arrival.
1. Delanie Walker – Tight EndEmbed from Getty Images
After spending his first seven seasons in San Francisco playing second fiddle to first round draft pick Vernon Davis, sixth round pick Delanie Walker has been the most productive player for the Titans and one of the best tight ends in the league since signing his free agent deal in 2013. Walker earned back to back Pro Bowl honors in 2015 and 2016, and set franchise records for receptions by a tight end in 2014 and 2015. Aside from his on-field accomplishments, Walker has also become the vocal leader of the team and face of the franchise in the community. By far the most important and influential free agent acquisition of the last decade in Tennessee.