It’s hard to find too much wrong with the Tennessee Titans with the team’s 5-1 start. But with the NFL’s Nov. 2 trade deadline fast approaching, the team does have a few areas it could stand to address for a stretch run to the playoffs.
General Manager Jon Robinson traditionally has not been active during the trade deadline during his tenure with Tennessee; however, he did ship disgruntled linebacker Kamalei Correa to Jacksonville along with a 2021 seventh-round pick in exchange for a 2021 sixth-round pick.
The Titans currently have $7.56 million in available cap space — 19th out of 32 teams — and could potentially use upgrades at several positions.
Taylor Lewan’s season-ending injury changes things for the Titans. Ty Sambrailo hasn’t been terrible filling in for Lewan this season, but he’s likely not whom Mike Vrabel would like to roll with protecting Ryan Tannehill’s blindside in the playoffs.
The Titans secondary, which has allowed 1,632 yards passing and the fourth-most touchdown passes (15) in the NFL, has struggled covering speedy receivers. Tennessee currently allows 7.1 yards per attempt. While Adoree Jackson’s return will surely help, the Titans will also reportedly be without Kristian Fulton for a few weeks.
However, the lack of a pass rush, which was supposed to have improved with the free agent additions of Jadeveon Clowney and Vic Beasley, has been the team’s biggest Achilles heel this year. Tennessee’s poor third-down and red-zone defense can be traced back to the inability to pressure the opposing quarterback.
Here are a few trade possibilities the Titans could consider:
Riley Reiff, OT, Minnesota Vikings
The Titans offense is very successful when running back Derrick Henry has open holes to run through and when Tannehill is kept upright.
Reiff has played in 100 percent of Minnesota’s offensive snaps this season, starting all six games. He has started 118 of his 126 NFL games in time split with the Detroit Lions and Vikings.
Tennessee presumably wouldn’t have to give up much to get the 31-year-old as he carries an $11.65 million salary next season but has only a $5.9 million base salary this year. Reiff is still a quality NFL tackle and would help ease some of the pressure on Dennis Kelley and Sambrailo.
Xavien Howard, CB, Miami Dolphins
Omar Kelly of the South Florida Sun Sentinel reported on Tuesday that the Dolphins were listening to offers on the 27-year-old Howard. The former Pro Bowl defensive back is tied for the NFL lead with four interceptions this season. Through six games, he has 11 tackles and six passes defensed, and quarterbacks have a passer rating of only 49 when targeting him.
This one will be pricey for the Titans as they would have to pay $7.4 million in Howard’s remaining salary for 2020. In addition, he will carry cap hits of $12.1 million (2021), $12.475 million (2022), $11.5 million (2023) and $11.75 million (2024) over the next four seasons.
Ryan Kerrigan, Edge, Washington Football Team
The Titans are tied for the second-fewest sacks in the NFL (seven) and have only 1.5 sacks from edge rushers this season.
Clowney and Beasley have been underwhelming getting to the quarterback, to say the least. The Titans have experiment with Rashaan Evans on the outside a little bit, but the team needs a true pass rushing specialist.
Chase Young’s emergence makes Kerrigan a little more expendable for Washington. Kerrigan will be a little pricey as well, due $6.8 million for the rest of the season, but he has averaged nearly 10 sacks per season during his career and has four sacks through the first seven weeks. He could potentially alleviate some of the pressure on Clowney and Beasley to produce and help create some more chaotic pressure schemes for Tennessee.
Bryce Callahan, CB, Denver Broncos
Tennessee desperately needs a true nickel cornerback to cover opposing team’s slot receivers. Malcolm Butler and Johnathan Joseph are both aging and simply don’t have enough speed to cover downfield threats.
Callahan was pushed outside due to A.J. Bouye’s injury, but he is better suited to play inside. Chris Jackson hasn’t been great trying to fill in as the team’s nickelback and the Titans won’t have any help from Fulton, who will be out for a few weeks.
With Jackson’s expected return this week or next, Callahan would add some much-needed speed to the Titans defensive backfield. He shouldn’t be too expensive, possibly costing a mid-round pick.
Cameron Fleming, OT, New York Giants
A right tackle, Fleming would allow the Titans to move Dennis Kelley to the left side, where he played for the first four games of last season when Lewan served a four-game suspension.
The 6-foot-6 Fleming has played in 100 percent of the Giants offensive snaps in five of their seven games — all starts — and would be a relatively cheap rental in terms of compensation to get the team through 2020 or until first-round pick Isaiah Wilson is up to speed and ready to contribute.
Follow Michael Gallagher on Twitter @MGsports_