NASHVILLE – We're now less than a week before the start of free agency in the NFL.
Yes, it's already been busy with the Titans, including a number of departures leading up to the start of the new league year.
Let's dive into another mailbag to get some thoughts, and questions.
Here's the link to ask questions: CLICK HERE
Joni Daniels from Antioch, Tennessee
Question: I try to keep up with the releases and the trades and all things concerning the Titans. It's beginning to feel like another major overhaul is happening to this team. I was surprised to read that Malcolm Butler had been released, and then Kenny Vaccaro! I know this is all about money, but as a PSL and season ticket holder I'm nervous about what this team is going to look like and the expectations of having another winning season. Can you please shed some light on what the heck Jon Robinson is doing!
Jim: Hi Joni. It's been a tough week for teams, and veteran players, across the NFL because of the salary cap constraints. Unfortunately, players like Malcolm and Kenny got caught up in it. In the past week, a bunch of guys have been cut across the NFL, even more than usual leading up to the start of the new league year on March 17. So, here's why: Last year the NFL's salary cap was at $198 million, and year after year the cap has steadily gone up. Those doing the books across the NFL would have anticipated this year's cap going up too, to let's say, around $205 million. Well, because of the pandemic, it decreased -- it's now going to be right at $182.5 million. That's quite a dramatic difference, and the team was forced to part ways with some players who had big price tags and cap hits as a result. Many other teams are doing the same. More players will be added, through free agency, and the draft. Some good players will be available at cheaper price tags than usual in free agency because of the lower cap. At safety, the Titans have a talented player in Amani Hooker ready to step in for Vaccaro. Hooker tied for the team lead with four interceptions last year. The Titans drafted cornerback Kristian Fulton in the second round of last year's draft to be a starter, so his time is coming. And again, more guys will be added as the 2021 roster takes shape. But this is the tough part.
Bradford Bailiff from Raleigh, North Carolina
Question: Hey Jim. My last letter was pretty critical of JRob, and having calmed down I remembered he's done a heck of a job this far. I will say re-signing Khari Blasingame was great. However, these latest roster moves or non-moves are confusing. I can't understand why JRob would cut Butler when he was our best corner. Can't you cut or trade Adoree and save the same amount of around 10M? I realize Butler is older bit he can still play obviously. Also why didn't JRob at least tag Jonnu? Even if he has no intention of keeping Jonnu he would bring some trade value. I think the tag isn't a bad deal for Jonnu since TEs are hard to develop and find in the league, and they're more important to run heavy teams like us. Can you give me some insight?
Jim: Hey Bradford. You made your case on Malcolm/Adoree, but the GM had other things in mind. As for Jonnu, hey, I'd love to see him back. And he's not gone yet. I just think a cap hit/salary of roughly $9.5 million for the tag proved to be too big to handle. Now the team is trying to get him back on a new contract. We'll see what happens.
Warnis Hightower from Houston, Texas
Question: Hello Jim! Hope everything is going well with you. Just to let know I have bled TITAN blue since way back to the OILER days. My heart moved to Tennessee with the team and I am still a true fan. I just read where the Titans let Malcolm Butler go. Personally, I think he was the best DB on the team. How can the team let him go and keep Adoree Jackson. I think AJ is the weakest DB on the team. Both in covering and tackling. Think this was a bad move.
Jim: Sounds like you and Bradford are in the same boat, Warnis.
ET Moore from Jacksonville, Florida
Question: Is it me or does it seem like we wait until all the good players are taken, like in free agency, the draft, and then scramble to take whatever is left. We tend to sign no name players and end up with a 1 in 7 chance of getting a good player, while our opponents are grabbing NFL bets, and we sign has beens. When will we go after the good needed players, instead of the no name players?? I love the TITANS, but it seems we not willing to get the great players........
Jim: Hey ET. The Titans have acquired some good players, just look around. Derrick Henry was the NFL's Offensive Player of the Year in 2020. A.J. Brown and Ryan Tannehill are hardly no-name players on an offense that finished No.2 in the NFL last year. In free agency, it's about finding the right players, not necessarily the biggest names. P.S.: Don't forget to phone home.
Zeke Anderson from White House, Tennessee
Question: Hey Jim. Huge fan here. I have a quick question: Why did we release Malcolm Butler and Kenny Vacarro?
Jim: See above.
Jim Hancock from Cleveland, Georgia
Question: I am a fan of the Titans, especially Ben Jones, whom I watched since his UGA days. I am proud of his "Jones Mission" and would like to make a contribution. However, I can't find an address for the Mission. Help!
Jim: Hey Jim. The email for The Jones Mission is email@example.com and the phone number is 615-321-4939. Thanks for inquiring. I'm sure Ben and his wife Alex appreciate it.
Here's the address: The Jones Mission c/o The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, 3833 Cleghorn Avenue, Nashville, TN 37215.
And here's a link to the site: CLICK HERE.
Hayden Hillenmeyer from Medfield, Massachusetts
Question: As we have seen the release of Adam Humphries, what do you think about the signing of Marcus Johnson and can he fill the role that Humphries played?
Jim: I think Marcus was signed to compete. He has experience in the NFL, and he performed well during his short stint on the practice squad last year. During the course of his NFL career, Johnson has registered 42 receptions for 679 yards and three touchdowns in 34 games with the Eagles (2016-17) and Indianapolis (2018-20). But more players will be added.
Doug Gately from Notus, Idaho
Question: Greetings Jim. Thanks for keeping us fans in the loop. I saw we traded our 2020 first round pick to the Fins. I just wanted to confirm that trade cleared up some much-needed cap space for our Titans?
Jim: Hey Doug. Here's the deal: NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported that first last week, but any trade that has been agreed to across the NFL in recent weeks can't be announced by individual clubs until the new league year begins on Wednesday. If players who have reportedly been traded pass physicals, then the trades will officially be announced by the teams then. So, stay tuned for official word.
Have a great weekend everyone!