The initial NFL free agent shopping spree has ended, and the only wide receivers the Titans have signed are two Justins: last year’s leading receiver Justin Gage and former Jet (and Titan) Justin McCareins.
Even so, I like the approach Titans GM Mike Reinfeldt is taking. He’s not overpaying for marginal talent. In a weak free agent pool, Bernard Berrian signed a $42 million contract with the Minnesota Vikings and Donte Stallworth signed for $35 million with the Cleveland Browns. It’s better for the Titans front office to take a conservative approach in signing talent and avoid the salary cap mess it faced after the 2004 season.
Given Reinfeldt’s approach to free agency, which is 180 degrees opposite the approach taken by the free-spending Browns, it looks as if Tennessee might have to draft a receiver in the first round. Although I’ve argued against it, this might be the only way the Titans can get a franchise player at that position this season.
Coach Jeff Fisher, when recently asked about the type of receiver he prefers, said “the priority is fast.” However, if you look at many of the prominent receivers the Titans have had over the past 5 years, the team also likes them “tall” (6’2″ and up, for our purposes). And which 1st round prospects are both tall and fast? Malcolm Kelly and Limas Sweed.
Today, at the University of Texas’ Pro Timing Day, Sweed ran a 4.40 40-yard dash. If Sweed is on the board at pick 24, the Titans should pick him, cross their collective fingers and hope that he is this year’s Dwayne Bowe.
If the Titans draft a defensive player in the first round, management might consider picking someone like Jordy Nelson from Kansas State (6’3″), who I think will be a good NFL player.