NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- A breakdown of the first week of free agency for the Tennessee Titans:
Most significant signing: Former New England cornerback Logan Ryan was a priority for the Titans, general manager Jon Robinson said. Ryan isn’t a clear-cut No. 1 cornerback, but he’s a versatile, smart player who’s good on the ball in the air. He works on catching like a receiver and aims to lead the team in a stat he calls "catch the ones they throw you." Other additions the Titans make at corner and how the guys in the defensive backfield play will have a bearing on how much Ryan moves around and to what degree he plays outside versus in the slot.
Most significant loss: No loss qualifies as a killer. We knew former first-rounders Kendall Wright (Chicago) and Chance Warmack (Philadelphia) would be moving on, and one-year deals show that even their new teams believe they have a lot to prove. Interior offensive lineman Brian Schwenke started three games at left guard for the injured Quinton Spain last year and appeared in all 16. He’s had trouble staying healthy as a full-time starter, but was valuable in a backup role. His departure leaves the Titans in need of a backup center.
Player they should have signed: I understand why they might not have loved Terrelle Pryor and I expect they will address receiver in the draft. But given that Pryor went to Washington for a year and $6 million that can grow to $8 million, he seems like a guy that would have been worth giving a shot to. That Pryor and another top free agent receiver, Alshon Jeffery (Philadelphia), signed with new teams for just a year tells us a lot about the league’s feeling for them.
What’s next: Erik Walden visited Nashville and the team definitely has room for another edge rusher. He had 11 sacks for the Colts last year. The Titans got healthy seasons out of Brian Orakpo and Derrick Morgan, but they drafted Kevin Dodd at the top of the second round and didn’t get much out of him before he landed on IR. Dodd was unable to get past the lingering effects of offseason surgery to repair a stress fracture in his foot. Popular thinking says teams with 3-4 defenses cannot have enough outside linebackers, so Walden could be a good addition in that respect.
Overall grade: B. Ryan addressed the team’s biggest position of need (cornerback) and strong safety Johnathan Cyprien should fortify the run defense and help define more of a free safety role for second-year man Kevin Byard. Sylvester Williams didn’t play especially well in his fourth year in Denver, but Robinson said the Titans are confident defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau will be able to “cook up” stuff that will help him be effective. The Titans did massive work on special teams by bringing in Brynden Trawick, Daren Bates and Eric Weems and also re-signing Nate Palmer and Phillip Supernaw, who were already prominent players in the kicking game.