Titans’ Free Agency Moves Picked As Most Head-Scratching

Calvin Ridley, Titans, NFL
Jan 7, 2024; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Calvin Ridley (0) reacts after scoring a touchdown against the Tennessee Titans during the first half at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports

The Tennessee Titans continued overhauling their roster in the vision of general manager Ran Carthon this offseason. Last year, he started purging the roster of several veterans, looking to get the salary cap in order. This offseason, the team is saying goodbye to several long-time players.

Among those are running back Derrick Henry and quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Both hit free agency this offseason, as Henry agreed to a deal with the Baltimore Ravens and Tannehill remains a free agent.

The team moved swiftly to replace both players. At quarterback, the Titans signed former Pittsburgh Steelers signal-caller Mason Rudolph. Rudolph is a solid backup for Will Levis after helping Pittsburgh get into the playoffs last season with strong play down the stretch.

To help replace Henry in the backfield, the Titans signed former Dallas Cowboys running back Tony Pollard. On the surface, it is a deal that makes sense, as he will combine with 2023 third-round pick Tyjae Spears to lead the backfield.

NFL News & Rumors: Tony Pollard, Calvin Ridley, 2024 NFL Free Agency, Tennessee Titans Updates

However, not everyone was in love with the signing. One of the people who didn’t like it was ESPN’s Matt Bowen. In Bowen’s opinion, the Pollard signing was the most head-scratching move of free agency.

“Running back Tony Pollard to the Titans. Pollard fits best in a rotational role, maximizing his running and receiving traits. But I didn’t expect Tennessee, who drafted Tyjae Spears in the third round last year, to be in the mix here. Let’s see if the Titans target a running back in the draft with downhill power and goal line ability to complement the skills of both Pollard and Spears,” wrote Bowen.

It was certainly surprising to see the Titans let Henry walk and follow it up by signing Pollard to a three-year, $21.75 million deal. But, that wasn’t even the most shocking deal the Titans signed.

That designation would go to the contract they agreed to with wide receiver Calvin Ridley. Tennessee swooped in at the last moment when it looked like his former team, the Jacksonville Jaguars, were going to retain him over the New England Patriots.

Tennessee agreed to a massive four-year, $92 million deal with Ridley, who played last season with their AFC South rivals. However, former NFL front office member Mike Tannenbaum, who now works for ESPN, believes the Ridley deal is the most head-scratching of this free agency.

NFL News & Rumors: Tony Pollard, Calvin Ridley, 2024 NFL Free Agency, Tennessee Titans Updates

“Receiver Calvin Ridley to the Titans. Yes, he has two 1,000-yard seasons and 36 career TDs, and he’s 29 years old — but he has never been a bona fide No. 1 receiver. I think the Titans overpaid at $23 million per year,” wrote Tannenbaum.

It was clear the Titans’ plan this offseason was to upgrade the weapons around Levis, giving him as good of a chance to succeed as possible. Tennessee accomplished that, as Pollard and Ridley are both solid upgrades.

However, it is easy to understand why the analysts selected each as their most head-scratching move of the offseason. The Titans don’t look to be in a position to contend this season, so spending lavishly, especially on a running back, could come back to bite them with salary cap implications down the road.

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