2021 Tennessee Titans Off-Season Search for TE1/WR2 – Forget Who’s Available! Who’s BEST? (5/5/21)

The Tennessee Titans have been relatively uninspiring with most of their WR acquisitions this off-season outside of the Josh Reynolds signing. They had a real opportunity to add to that in the draft and drafted Louisville WR Dez Fitzpatrick and LSU WR Racey McMath. Although I believe there’s hope for Fitzpatrick, I can tell you right now Titans fans, they are going to need more.

Who though? Many respectable lists will be compiled. Let’s take a look at those lists but let’s also differentiate the studs from the duds. I have researched and studied a few lesser known avenues the Titans could take to sure up their pass catcher depth.

Price Legend (includes if draft capital would be involved)

$ = High Cost ($3M and above plus risk)

$ = Mid Cost (roughly $2M or draft capital)

$ = Low (roughly $1M)

5th year option exercised = Expensive tab and salary is guaranteed if injured.


TE Tier 1

David Njoku | Cleveland | 6’4″ 246 lbs. $

TRADE: This should be obvious when considering the athlete that Njoku is. Almost all high end TE options available have some buyer beware to them but Njoku provides the most upside. Better bang for your buck if you will. (5th year option exercised.)

TE Tier 2

Trey Burton | Free Agent | 6’2″ 240 lbs. $

FREE AGENT: Burton is the best H-Back/Move TE available. He’s not flashy but gets the job done. He’s battled injuries recently and that’s the main concern about Burton.

Zach Ertz | Philadelphia | 6’5″ 250 lbs. if traded $, if signed $

TRADE/FA: There comes a time in evaluation where a players’ leadership and knowledge starts to become more of a selling point than their actual playing ability. Ertz is getting there. Not too far removed from multiple double digit catch games in Philly. I wouldn’t be surprised if healthy, that he could be a steal, if and when he’s traded or released.

TE Tier 3

Richard Rodgers | Free Agent | 6’4″ 257 lbs. $

FREE AGENT: In spot duty, Rodgers was incredibly sound and efficient. He executed his blocks to the best of the ability they could’ve been done and also ran hitch routes at a premium and caught a high percentage of those. Not going to outrun anybody but is a solid FA TE.

MyCole Pruitt | Free Agent | 6’2″ 245 lbs. $

FREE AGENT: Has experience within the system. You know what you’re getting but you’d love to upgrade from a receiving perspective.

Durham Smythe | Miami | 6’6″ 250 lbs. $

TRADE: After Hunter Long was drafted to the Dolphins Durham Smythe immediately came to mind. In a TE room in Miami that now consists of Mike Gesicki, Hunter Long, and Adam Shaheen giving Dolphins’ GM Chris Grier a call wouldn’t be your worse move.

Evan Engram | New York Giants | 6’2″ 245 lbs. $

TRADE: Double catches everything and drops everything else. I’m almost certain Daniel Jones the QB, hates him. He’s the ULTIMATE boom or bust player. You don’t know if he’ll be Jonnu/Delanie-like or the biggest bust you’ve ever seen on a game to game basis. (5th year option exercised.)

O.J. Howard | Tampa Bay | 6’6″ 251 lbs. $

TRADE: He has a very similar evaluation to Engram. He’s coming off injury and has never put it all together. I’m sure he could be acquired for a 7th round pick but what are you actually getting in return? (5th year option exercised.)


WR Tier 1

Julio Jones | Atlanta | 6’3″ 220 lbs. $

TRADE: Just when you think the Julio Jones Experience is coming to a close, he has a stretch of games that leave you in awe. If anybody gets Jones they immediately make their passing offense formidable. He’s obviously often injured but you bank, and mean literally BANK, on him being healthy 80% of the time and that may be enough.

Jamison Crowder | New York Jets | 5’9″ 180 lbs. $

TRADE: Crowder is an explosive underneath pass catcher. In the slot is his paradise. Could easily see him in this offense providing speed and quicks. Injuries are a concern though.

Odell Beckham Jr. | Cleveland | 5’11 198 lbs. $

TRADE: OBJ isn’t mentioned a lot and understandably so. He’s been hurt quite a bit for several years and the maturity issues arise annually. However you can’t deny the talent. Much more importantly you can’t deny the talent when being projected into this offense as WR2 to A.J. Brown. Honestly, when full speed, the target share should be interchangeable and that would cause fits for opposing defenses.

WR Tier 2

James Washington | Pittsburgh | 5’11” 213 lbs. $

TRADE: I’ve watched the progression of Washington from afar. I must say I’ve been impressed. He’s gotten stronger and more physical. He’s not just a deep threat like he was as a rookie. He has a slot game to go with his boundary play. He breaks tackles and finishes his runs after the catch. I think he would fit in well with this team. He’s currently overshadowed there in Pittsburgh with Dionte Johnson, JuJu Smith-Schuster, and Chase Claypool getting the lion’s share of targets.

Michael Gallup | Dallas | 6’1″ 198 lbs. $

TRADE: Gallup is explosive and in a crowded WR room. (Amari Cooper, Ceedee Lamb, and newly drafted Simi Fehoko.) He and A.J. Brown would make a good duo. Thunder and Lightning, although Brown often shows both capabilities.

Travis Fulgham | Philadelphia | 6’2″ 215 lbs. $

TRADE: Titans actually drafted his doppelgänger this year in Desmond “Dez” Fitzpatrick. But as they say there’s nothing like the original. Fulgham plays with a physical mindset and uses his frame well. He’s progressed substantially since his rookie year coming from Old Dominion.

Anthony Miller | Chicago | 5’11” 190 lbs. $

TRADE: Miller is a running back playing wide receiver and it shows in both good and bad ways sometimes. Mental lapses and concentration drops happen too often with Miller. Besides that, he is a good slot option that can do work run after catch.

Cam Sims | Washington | 6’5″ 215 lbs. $

TRADE: Sims is a big bodied wide receiver with a sufficient amount of separation skills. He has above average YAC ability and tough to bring down. I like his catch radius too. Not too many serviceable receivers on the market with those kind of trait pairings. (Signed his $2.1M RFA tender.)

JaKobi Meyers | New England | 6’2″ 200 lbs. $

TRADE: The former QB had a good season last year in New England. He doesn’t get separation with sheer athleticism. He uses his guile and craftiness to get open but that’s more than enough because he can carve out a niche as a dependable chain mover with high volume upside.

WR Tier 3

Tim Patrick | Denver | 6’4″ 212 lbs. $

TRADE: Tall and lanky. I actually used him as a NFL comp for a WR in the 2021 Draft class. Can you guess which one? That’s right! Terrace Marshall Jr. Now obviously Marshall Jr. is more explosive but from a dexterity and vertical play style standpoint, they are similar even if it’s on the lower end.

Golden Tate | Free Agent | 5’10” 200 lbs. $

FREE AGENT: Would be nothing more than a veteran returning to his home state. Unless it’s a contract that is incentive laden and he has something to prove and play for. He may surprise you with some above average slot play.

DaeSean Hamilton | Denver | 6’1″ 205 lbs. $

TRADE: Hamilton is a team first player. Will block and catch how many times is necessary. He is known for his route running ability. Not quick twitch or extremely agile but is a solid contributor.

Richie James | San Francisco | 5’9″ 185 lbs. $

TRADE: James is slender and quick. Provides return value on special teams. Can get open and run after catch. A strategic blocker and does his job despite his size.

Young Guns Who Need A Change of Scenery via Trade

TE Jesper Horsted | Chicago | 6’3″ 240 lbs. $

Horsted is one of my few WR to TE convert success stories. (See Darren Waller) He only needs a place to run rampant. Dude’s contested catch ability is a thing of beauty.

WR Andy Isabella | Arizona | 5’9″ 190 lbs. $

Isabella is in a crowded group there in Arizona. DeAndre Hopkins, Christian Kirk, Rondale Moore, and maybe a Larry Fitzgerald return (another guy I’d love to have just for his knowledge.) Isabella is a quick twitch field stretcher with chain moving ability in the slot.

WR J.J. Arcega-Whiteside | Philadelphia | 6’2″ 225 lbs. $

For a 7th round pick JJAW could be a steal. I know the popular narrative is that he’s a “bust.” But with the proper amount of tape study, you’ll find out he’s a player that consistently gets open but the ball is just not thrown his way. He’s a contested catch dynamo and a smooth operator as a route technician he’s slowly improved since being drafted.

The obvious combo you’d prefer is Njoku/Jones but I’m going to give you the most efficient options, based on play style, and what type of offense YOU want to create. Re-sign TE MyCole Pruitt and trade for WR J.J. Arcega-Whiteside if you want a run heavy PA offense. They offer the most ideal fit for high level run blocking and spot duty receptions here and there. For the most balanced offense Sign TE Trey Burton and trade for WR Richie James. Both are cost effective and undersized but block well and would be above average pass catchers in this scheme plus James provides return ability on special teams. I would be patient in both markets but if I HAD to make a move I would sign TE Richard Rodgers and trade for WR Travis Fulgham or WR James Washington. Flip a coin. The internet would go nuts over an OBJ and Ertz transaction though!

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