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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group

1 realistic free agent for Titans at biggest positions of need

The Tennessee Titans head into 2024 free agency with a laundry list of needs. After finishing with a disappointing 6-11 record, it appears likely that the team will look much different in 2024.

Years of poor drafting and questionable roster decisions have put the Titans in a bad spot. The roster is bereft of young talent at many positions as a result.

Luckily, the Titans should have ample opportunities to add talent this offseason. Per Over The Cap, the Titans are projected to have a whopping $78.5 million in cap space.

An emphasis will likely be placed on the offensive line, the secondary, and at wide receiver. These position groups all feature multiple quality options for the Titans to consider in free agency.

Today, let’s identify one realistic free agent for each of the Titans’ biggest needs: wide receiver, tackle, center, cornerback and running back.

Right tackle: Mike Onwenu

Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

The Titans desperately need help on the offensive line.

Technically, left tackle is the most pressing need, however, many expect the team to address that position with the No. 7 pick. There’s also always the possibility that Peter Skoronski gets to try out as the left tackle.

Today, we’ll focus on right tackle. Mike Onwenu is a versatile lineman who has experience at guard and tackle. In 2023, Onwenu earned a respectable 71.5 PFF grade as the Patriots’ right tackle.

Chris Hubbard was serviceable as the Titans’ right tackle in 2023 but is headed for free agency, will turn 33 before the 2024 season begins, and is better suited as a swing tackle regardless. Dillon Radunz, who played right tackle after Hubbard got injured, finished the season strong and could factor in here if the Titans don’t find a starter in free agency or the draft.

Spotrac projects Onwenu to command over $13.6 million per year over a four-year deal, but that price would be worth it for the Titans.

Center: Lloyd Cushenberry III

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The Titans’ incumbent center, Aaron Brewer, is headed for free agency this offseason. Even if Brewer was under contract, the team could stand to upgrade here. Brewer struggles in pass protection and allowed a whopping six sacks in 2023.

Lloyd Cushenberry III, on the other hand, held up well in pass protection for the Denver Broncos in 2023. The former LSU Tiger allowed just one sack and earned a respectable 73.2 PFF grade. The center could stand to cut down on the penalties, but he’s an above-average center who would anchor the line.

Cushenberry figures to be cheaper than a top-of-the-market center like Connor Williams. With so many holes, the Titans would likely prefer Cushenberry over Williams, who figures to get a massive payday.

Cornerback: Chidobe Awuzie

Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Jaylon Johnson and L’Jarius Sneed both seem like locks to remain where they are. Sneed has already received the franchise tag and the Chicago Bears are “optimistic” about locking Johnson up.

Enter Chidobe Awuzie.

Awuzie spent the last three seasons in Cincinnati with Brian Callahan. The corner earned a respectable 62.6 PFF grade in 2023 and collected 57 tackles, six passes defensed, and one forced fumble. The corner’s best season came in 2021 when he racked up 64 tackles and two interceptions.

Awuzie won’t command an outrageous salary like some of the other corners, but he’s a reliable veteran option for the boundary.

Running back: Zack Moss

Clark Wade/IndyStar / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Titans will have a hole at running back, as all signs are pointing to Derrick Henry heading elsewhere this offseason.

Tyjae Spears showed promise as a rookie, but the team will need to add depth behind him. While you shouldn’t expect the Titans to invest heavily in this position, there is one guy who would be a perfect fit — Zack Moss.

Moss spent 2023 with the Indianapolis Colts and had his best game against the Titans. In Week 5, Moss rushed for 165 yards on 23 carries and found the end zone twice. Moss also caught two passes for 30 yards.

At 5-foot-9, 205 pounds, Moss is a bruising back who can help spell Spears. Spotrac projects Moss to command just under $5 million in free agency, which is much cheaper than what Henry will land.

Left tackle: Donovan Smith

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Donovan Smith has been a reliable tackle in the NFL for almost a decade now.

He has never played fewer than 12 games in a season and held up well with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2024, with Smith earning a 55.4 PFF grade and only allowing two sacks.

From 2015-18, Smith played in every possible game for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and earned above-average pass-blocking grades in each season.

The free-agent market at left tackle is thin this year. Smith won’t break the bank and as a one or two-year stopgap, or as an insurance policy in case the Titans don’t draft a left tackle, Tennessee could do much worse.

Wide receiver: Curtis Samuel

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Curtis Samuel is entering free agency after spending the previous three seasons with the Washington Commanders. In 2023, Samuel ended with 62 catches for 613 yards and four touchdowns.

Samuel’s best season as a pro came in 2020 with the Carolina Panthers when the receiver caught 77 passes for 851 yards and 3 TDs. Samuel parlayed that performance into a three-year, $34.5 million deal with the Commanders.

Samuel had an injury-plagued first season in D.C. but had at least 60 catches and 600 yards in both 2022 and 2023.

Samuel is not a No. 1 receiver, but he wouldn’t have to be in Tennessee. He would slot in nicely behind DeAndre Hopkins as a speedy receiver who can get open.

Spotrac projects the receiver to command $11.5 million on the open market, so he wouldn’t break the bank.

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