The NFL’s legal tampering period is now underway, where teams and free agents can officially begin contract negotiations for the 2018-19 season.
Wow, it seems like just yesterday that Marcus Mariota was catching his own pass and diving over the pylon in Arrowhead Stadium.
But I digress.
The Titans now have approximately 60 million dollars in cap space after parting ways with veteran players DeMarco Murray, Da’Norris Searcy, Matt Cassell, and Eric Weems.
General manager Jon Robinson is likely to be active, and as a whole, the Titans have fared quite well in free agency. Several free agent acquisitions play prominent roles.
Today we count down the top 5 on the current roster.
Rishard Matthews – WREmbed from Getty Images
Rishard Matthews became a day one starter after signing as a free agent in 2016, and has been Tennessee’s top receiver in yards and touchdowns in each of his two seasons in Tennessee. While his numbers dipped in 2017 (as did the entire offense), Matthews has shown a willingness to make tough catches in traffic. His physicality as a blocker should also be noted, as he is often the one seen springing a guy open and racing down the sidelines with him in celebration when the Titans break a long run.
Wesley Woodyard – MLBEmbed from Getty Images
The grizzled veteran had the best statistical season of his ten-year career in 2017, leading the Titans with a career-high 124 tackles. By comparison, his middle linebacker counterpart Avery Williamson finished second…with 92.
Who said this was a young man’s game?
The 2014 free acquisition also posted five sacks, 5 pass deflections, 2 fumble recoveries, and a defensive touchdown in his Pro Bowl-snubbed 2017 campaign.
Ryan Succop – KEmbed from Getty Images
There is nothing more valuable than an accurate place kicker if you’re an offensively challenged team, and Ryan Succop was just that for Tennessee last season. The 2014 free agent acquisition accounted for 8 of the Titans’ 20 points per game in 2017, nearly half. Succop set an NFL record for consecutive field goals made inside 50 yards last season. He also single-handedly defeated the winless Cleveland Browns, 12-9, in a game that would have cost Tennessee a playoff berth if not for his heroics. Tennessee showed their gratitude with a contract extension this offseason.
Brian Orakpo – OLBEmbed from Getty Images
Brian Orakpo’s impact was immediate to both the Tennessee Titans and their opponents after signing as a free agent in 2015. His 24.5 sacks in that span leads the team, but just as important, his relentless pressure off the edge causes opportunities for the teammates who benefits from the extra attention he receives. The four-time Pro Bowler will be heavily relied upon once again as a key returning member of the defense.
Delanie Walker – TEEmbed from Getty Images
Delanie Walker is arguably the most valuable player on the team behind quarterback Marcus mariota, a rarity for a tight end. Walker has been the epitome of production and professionalism since signing as a free agent in 2013, and has worked himself into the elite class of his position. The savvy veteran has shown no signs of slowing down, even at age 33. And if he remains healthy in 2018, then last year’s Offensive Pro Bowl MVP could very well get a chance to defend his crown this season with his fourth straight appearance.