Position Primer 2013 - Running Back

Discussion in 'Tennessee Titans and NFL Talk' started by Carpy, Jan 2, 2013.

  1. Carpy

    Carpy Disgruntled foreign veteran

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    2013 Cap hit for all RBs on roster ($12.63m) – 11.81% of team spend

    Players under contract:
    Chris Johnson (5’11”, 191) – 27 years old
    2013 Cap Number - $12m ($10m salary + $2m SB pro-rata) – note salary is guaranteed if he is on the roster day 5 of new league year (mid-March)
    2014 Cap Number – $10m ($8m salary + $2m SB pro-rata)
    2015 Cap Number – $10m ($8m salary + $2m SB pro-rata)
    Jamie Harper (5’11”, 233) – 24 years old
    2013 Cap Number - $0.63m ($0.55m salary + $0.08m SB pro-rata)
    2014 Cap Number – $0.73m ($0.65m salary + $0.08m SB pro-rata)

    Expired Contracts
    Darius Reynaud
    Javon Ringer
    Darren Evans

    3 burning questions

    1. Is it too early to cut ties with CJ?
    I don’t think there is any doubt he isn’t worth the salary he is getting, but he showed enough this season to be a contributor to our offense and we certainly don’t have a better option on the roster today.

    2. Is the Jamie Harper experiment over?
    Outside of Chris Henry, I can’t recall when I have been less impressed with a Running Back than when Jamie Harper takes the field. The Titans definitely need a decent complement to CJ, but Harper has had 2 seasons and has failed abysmaly at every opportunity.

    3. Did Reynaud earn himself another contract?
    2 punt returns for TDs against the Jags surely helped his chances, and he didn’t lose a fumble all season. That said, as a jack of all trades, he didn’t really shine. He only caught 5 passes all season and averaged a measly 2.1yds per carry. At 28 years old, I can’t say he is a priority.

    Free Agency:
    Some really good options (particularly between the tackles runners) and I expect us to be a player.

    Steven Jackson (Player Option)
    Chris Ivory (RFA)
    Reggie Bush
    Rashard Mendenhall
    Cedric Benson
    Shonn Greene
    Bernard Scott
    Peyton Hillis
    Brandon Jacobs
    Rashad Jennings
    La'Rod Stephens-Howling
    Cedric Peerman
    Brian Leonard
    Mike Goodson
    Tashard Choice

    Potential Cap Casualties:
    Michael Turner
    Willis McGahee
    DeAngelo Williams

    Potential Draft Targets:
    I could see us targeting a RB as early as round 3, and fully expect us to draft at least one, depending on how Free Agency pans out.

    Montee Ball, Wisconsin
    Le’Veon Bell, Michigan State
    Stepfan Taylor, Stanford
    Rex Burkhead, Nebraska
    Joseph Randle, Oklahoma State

    Wildcards:
    Marcus Lattimore, South Carolina
    Knile Davis, Arkansas

    Summary
    If 2012 proved anything, it proved that we need a better 2nd option to CJ than what we have. In developing a young QB, we can’t be putting him in 2nd and 3rd and long plays so often, so we need the running game to be much more consistent than it was this year. I know that is not all on the RBs, but this unit definitely needs an upgrade behind CJ. Our situation with CJ is also a little unclear. He holds zero trade value with the monster contract he has, so at some point the team has to make a decision on whether or not they are going to let him play out his contract, or cut ties.

    My take
    I think it would be a very ballsy move to cut CJ before his salary becomes guaranteed and I don’t see it happening. With the stacked free agent group, I think we will sign a veteran RB to back him up (Rashad Jennings type) and draft another RB as well. I would love the Titans to get Ivory from the Saints, but he's likely to receive a high tender and I don't see us paying the compensation. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Titans gambled on Davis or Lattimore in the middle rounds of the draft if they secure a competent back-up in free agency.

    UPDATE TWO WEEKS OUT FROM DRAFT

    Shonn Greene is a risk as a signing, but at times in New York, he flashed the ability to be an excellent between the tackles runner. He at least gives the Titans the threat of a power running game on short yardage plays and could help open up the play-action game. Harper is clearly on borrowed time. Reynaud was re-signed with a $300k signing bonus, so it is unlikely he will be let go. I think the draft strategy at RB is more about finding a viable replacement for CJ if they want to cut him loose next season. In my mind, that makes Davis and Lattimore prime candidates through the draft, and I wouldn't be surprised if the Titans targeted one of these two in round 4 or 5.
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  2. Scarecrow

    Scarecrow CEO of PPO

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    I really wish the CJ price talk would go away. We are so far under the cap, that *if* we did cut him, the 'cheap' tag for this franchise would never leave. Besides, with the new CBA, he is probably a pretty good deal these days.

    I am okay with Harper coming back, but barely and on one condition........

    We bring in a real power back to help push him. I would love to see Mendenhall or Green here.
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  3. Carpy

    Carpy Disgruntled foreign veteran

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    We really aren't that far under the cap. The problem with CJ's contracts is not likely to hit us this year, however we have a number of "keeper players on rookie contracts that we will want to extend and upgrade contracts for in the next 2 years that will really stress our salary cap.

    I agree that it's not a big issue for 2013. In some respects we dodged a bullet because in the last few years before the new CBA, there were a number of rookie contracts that are eating up a ridiculous amount of a team's cap space. In those years we drafted guys like Griffin, Britt, CJ etc at the back end of the first round and for reasonably acceptable contracts.

    Having a high 1st round bust in those years can cripple a franchise.
    Look at the Raiders:
    Darius Heyward-Bey 2013 Cap hit - $10.601m
    Rolando McClain 2013 Cap hit - $6.675m
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  4. ncaalover12

    ncaalover12 Starter

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    Burkhead!
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  5. Kaeotik

    Kaeotik Pro Bowler

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    Cutting CJ would be devastating to the Titans chances at signing free agents that care about winning. We need help through free agency. Not to mention how unlikely it is that they could find a replacement to play at the same level as CJ. watching the Titans play this year, and watchig the team run block, I would say the whole "CJ's nowhere near worth the money" argument is just an opinion. An opinion that a lot less people in the league have than you might think. In my opinion of course. lol
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  6. yanek27

    yanek27 Starter

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    We need a nice 3rd down back to help CJ. Harper is not the answer.
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  7. Titans2004

    Titans2004 Starter

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    On offense addressing the interior OL and backup RB is a must this off season.

    Mendenhall, Green, Hillis and Jennings are the guys I like in FA.

    I would be up for drafting Lattimore in mid rnd knowing that he would most likely not be available until 2014.
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  8. Smash

    Smash Soccer God

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    Harper is gone. Both Raynaud and Mooney passed him on the depth chart...

    I'm hearing he's reporting for some non-contact dance show.
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  9. Gunny

    Gunny Lord and Master Tip Jar Donor

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    Lattimore is a 7th pick or UDFA. No way you draft a guy who had that injury.
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  10. mike75

    mike75 Starter Tip Jar Donor

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    The 2013 season will be the perfect time for the team to bring in a bruising physical RB to help take some of the load off of CJ and help the team in the running game.With Chris Johnson coming into his sixth season it would be wise to bring in some physical back to wear down defenses and help compliment CJ in the running game.With CJ having three runs last year over 80 yards it is safe to say he still has plenty of gas left in the tank.The thing is he will last a lot longer and can be a valuable asset in the running game if we can get someone in here to help split the carries and prolong not only CJ's career here but also help the team have a dynamic running game.If we can get a physical back to wear defenses down that will help CJ slice through tired defenses and also keep him from wearing down.They did this successfully once before with Lendale White backing CJ in the running game and it will work again if they decide to.Either through the draft or free agency they will find the physical back they need.
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