The Tennessee Titans have not experienced much success since they moved from Houston. At their inception the Houston Oilers claimed the first two AFL titles in 1960 and 1961, losing the third before falling off the map competitively. The Oilers never made it to a Super Bowl as an NFL team, but in the franchise’s first year as the Tennessee Titans, 1999, the team won the AFC and made it all the way to the big game only to fall a yard short against the St. Louis Rams.
Since then the Titans have flirted with brilliance but fallen short in the playoffs. They went 11-5 in 2002 and 12-4 in 2003 but lost to the eventual AFC champion both years, in 2008 the Titans went 13-3 and won a first-round bye but lost to Baltimore in the divisional round. In 2017 the Titans made the playoffs again, beating the Chiefs before losing in disappointing fashion to the Patriots. In 2018 the Titans hired Mike Vrabel to turn things around, but they had their third 9-7 season in a row.
In Madden 19 you get the chance to break the monotony in Franchise Mode. In Madden the Titans get an 81 overall rating. This is made up of an 85 rated offense and an 83 rated defense. That’s a pretty low overall rating considering the individual units, which speaks to a lack of star power and depth. It’s tough to find mega stars, and expensive. Where should you try to improve the roster of the Titans so they can finally taste the ultimate prize. Let’s look at the Titans cap situation.
Tennessee Titans Salary Cap
The Titans start Franchise Mode with 65 players on the roster and $25.8 million in cap space. That isn’t a ton of room but it’s not awful either. You’ll need to cut 12 players to get down to the regular season roster size of 53, and that should open up a further $3-4 million.
There are 24 players that can be cut without any cap penalty, including Kamalei Correa, who is deep in the depth chart but will free up $1.42 million if cut. However, you don’t need to make cuts for cap purposes just yet, so you should hold on to Correa and release even worse players.
Tennessee Titans Impending Free Agents
The Titans have 27 players entering the last year of their contract. There are plenty of players that can be allowed to walk away and are easy to replace, but there are a couple that will be tough to replace if you aren’t willing to pay them.
Starting strong safety Kenny Vaccaro was only a one-year signing at the start of 2018, but he would be worth extending so you don’t have to throw a draft pick or more money at the position. Outside linebacker Brian Orakpo is also an impending free agent. The Titans prepared for Orakpo to leave by drafting Harold Landry last year, but in Madden 19 he isn’t quite ready to go and will need to be a focused player in training for a while. If you are comfortable by the end of season 1 that Landry can fill the void then you can allow Orakpo to walk and not worry about the position, but if not then you may need to keep hold of Orakpo.
Starting left guard Quinton Spain is also another player that a decision needs to be made on. If your scouting reveals a few mid-round guards that are solid it may be worth your while to allow Spain to walk and draft his replacement, but at 26 there is no hurry to move on from Spain and he is better than the option at right guard.
Other key impending free agents: Bennie Logan (DE), Kendrick Lewis (FS), Luke Stocker (TE), MyCole Pruitt (TE)
Tennessee Titans Roster Needs
The Titans roster is pretty solid at the start of Franchise Mode. Marcus Mariota is a good, if unspectacular, quarterback that has terrific athleticism to help him escape trouble. Derrick Henry and Dion Lewis are a good running back pairing and Corey Davis & Delanie Walker are good receivers. However, none of these players are standouts. The same is true along the offensive line where Taylor Lewan, Jack Conklin, and Quinton Spain are solid, while you can get by with Ben Jones and Josh Kline in the other spots. A similar narrative holds on defense as well, though there are more holes there.
What does this mean? Well, it means you are largely free to pursuit the best players available. You don’t need to specifically target any one position and lock yourself into a panic buy because you have to fill a gap.
This is a nice place to be when it comes to free agency and the draft. If there is a quality quarterback available in the draft you can take him, but you don’t need to reach for one. If you want a defensive improvement you can do so by grabbing a defensive tackle or a cornerback. When it comes to strict needs the Titans could use more depth up front on defense. Jurrell Casey is an excellent defensive end and Bennie Logan is solid but behind them there isn’t much and Logan is an impending free agent. With the Titans 3-4 defense you shouldn’t make a big signing of DeMarcus Lawrence or Brandon graham, but someone like Sheldon Richardson or Muhammad Wilkerson would be a solid addition to the rotation.
The Titans could also use a star wide receiver and cornerback. They have some talent on the outside thanks to Corey Davis and Adoree’ Jackson, but they aren’t superstars and have weaknesses that can be exploited.
The Titans roster is really a malleable ball of clay that you can turn into a championship side quickly. If you know how to make the most out of Mariota’s talents then he can take you there quickly, but if not then finding an upgrade over him should really be priority number 1. They won’t be a Super Bowl side in season 1, but if you can develop some of the young players like Rashaan Evans, Jonnu Smith, and Harold Landry then with a handful of additions they can really become an elite side that will challenge the established sides in the AFC.