2013 Cap hit for all DE’s – $7.7m (7.2% of team spend) Players under contract: Kam Wimbley (6’4”, 255) – 29 years old 2013 Cap Number - $5.8m ($4m salary + $1.8m SB pro-rata) 2014 Cap Number – $7.8m ($6m salary + $1.8m SB pro-rata) 2015 Cap Number – $8.3m ($6.5m salary + $1.8m SB pro-rata Derrick Morgan (6’3”, 278) – 23 years old 2013 Cap Number - $2.3m ($0.7m salary + $1.6m SB pro-rata) 2014 Cap Number – $2.8m ($1.2m salary + $1.6m SB pro-rata) 2015 Cap Number – $2.8m ($1.5m salary + $1.6m SB pro-rata) – player option Scott Solomon (6’3”, 262) – 24 years old 2013 Cap Number – $0.5m 2014 Cap Number – $0.6m 2015 Cap Number - $0.7m Expired contracts Dave Ball Leger Douzable Jarius Wynn 3 burning questions 1. Is that as good as Wimbley gets in a 4-3? Let’s hope not. He had his moments as a pure pass rusher, but he wore down badly as the season went on and he was often a major liability in the run game. He played over 80% of defensive snaps, which is insane for an under-sized defensive end, but our depth was horrendous this season. With some more help and a reduced snap count, let’s hope he gets to the QB more next season. 2. Has Morgan got another gear in his recovery? Morgan’s injuries clearly set him back but as the season progressed he got better and better and showed enough to think that he is a really high end starting strong side defensive end for a number of years. Now over 2 years removed from knee surgery, any further improvement would be a real boost. 3. Is Tracy Rocker’s time nearly up? Our D-Line coach arrived from Auburn with much expectation, but in two seasons the results have been less than stellar. We picked up sacks in bunches this season, but mainly when we brought additional pressure from our LBs and the pressure from our DEs wasn’t consistent enough. He is one position coach that may be feeling the heat. Free Agency: I expect the Titans will sniff around at DEs this season, because we have very little cash tied up in the position. Wimbley’s contract is very reasonable and Morgan’s rookie deal is great value. Some of the contracts commanded by the top-tier DEs over the last few years have been enormous, so we will need some serious cajones to go after the big names. Osi Umenyioura Ray Edwards Shawne Merriman Robert Geathers Wallace Gilberry Michael Johnson Juqua Parker Lawrence Jackson Cliff Avril Dwight Freeney Andre Carter Darryl Tapp William Hayes Michael Bennett Matt Shaughnessy Israel Idonije Possible Cap Casualties: This is clearly wishful thinking, but some of these contracts are obscene and with no more guaranteed money, some of these players could be just a little bit vulnerable. The numbers in parentheses are the 2013 Cap Hits. Elvis Dumervil ($16.9m) Jared Allen ($17.8m) Julius Peppers ($16.4m) Chris Canty ($8.2m) Adam Carriker ($4.8m) Will Smith ($14.5m) Tyson Jackson ($17.2m) Kyle Vanden Bosch ($10.7m) Potential Draft Targets: An impact player at Defensive End is always a popular draft selection and if the right guy is there that can split snaps with Wimbley on the weak side, I think this is a position that the Titans will seriously consider. The OLB/DE tweeners are less likely in my view, as Wimbley showed this year the need for our DEs to be able to hold up in the run game. Bjoern Werner, Florida State Damontre Moore, Texas A&M Alex Okafor, Texas Ezekiel Ansah, BYU Margus Hunt, SMU Morgan Breslin, USC Malliciah Goodman, Clemson Summary Our two starting DEs both played over 80% of snaps last season. That is way too much for them to be at their best. Morgan’s development this season was one of the few bright spot on the D-Line. He is a definite keeper as our starting strongside DE, but he too needs some more depth to allow him to rotate through and keep fresh. Wimbley was a disappointment. At times he looked great when he could pin his ears back and rush the passer, but overall he was not as productive as hoped and he was a clear liability in the run game. Keeping him on the roster and rotating him in on passing downs is a much better use of his talents. Either through the draft or Free Agency, we need a high calibre 3rd DE at least to give our two starters a good rotation. My take Pinning all our hopes on drafting a 3rd starting calibre DE is a risky strategy. As much as Dave Ball was “just a guy” he did provide our DEs with a mush needed rotation in years gone past. I can see the Titans being a player in Free Agency for this reason. The top prizes are likely to be the two Michaels (Bennett and Johnson) and I think they will re-sign with their own teams. Guys like Avril, Freeney and Osi are pure pass rushers that will probably command big dollars out of our range. I could see the Titans targeting a guy like Will Smith (once he’s cut), Shaughnessy, Geathers, or even KVB. Any of these guys are a significant upgrade over the scrubs we had backing up Morgan and Wimbley this season. I think the Titans will look to draft a DE in the mid-rounds as well and I like Goodman from Clemson or Breslin from USC (if he declares).