Tennessee Titans: Franchise Tagging Michael Griffin a Smart Move

Chad MintonCorrespondent IMarch 7, 2012

NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 24: Michael Griffin #33 of the Tennessee Titans runs with the ball after intercepting a pass while defended by Brent Celek #87 of the Philadelphia Eagles at LP Field on October 24, 2010 in Nashville, Tennessee. The Titans won 37-19.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

It didn't take too long for the unexpected to happen in the Tennessee Titans' offseason, as they decided to use the franchise tag on safety Michael Griffin.

The franchise tag will allow the Titans to match any deal that is offered to Griffin from another team, meaning he'll most likely remain a Tennessee Titan.

What makes this move so surprising is the notion that Griffin's playing days in Tennessee were almost certainly over, and he had come to terms with that via his Twitter page.

It also means that the Titans are fully prepared to let Cortland Finnegan walk in free agency and would rather hold on to Griffin at the safety position.

Griffin is a two-time Pro Bowl selection, but has always had consistency issues.

After being selected to the Pro Bowl in 2010, Griffin's production and flare on the field dropped considerably in 2011.

Despite the consistency issues, the Titans are making a wise decision by holding onto Griffin to solidify their secondary for next season.

Griffin is a gamer, he's a baller and a playmaker, to steal a line from ESPN's Skip Bayless.

If Griffin would have left the Titans, then they would be extremely vulnerable at the position. It also would've been very likely that the Titans would have to start a rookie safety that they would have to draft in the early rounds of the upcoming NFL Draft.

Frankly, there wasn't much at the free safety position on the free agent market, and the Titans realized that Griffin is their best option moving forward.

Now the Titans have two veterans starting at safety, with Jordan Babineaux being the other one.

Babineaux had a solid year in his first campaign with the Titans, and Griffin has a lot of good years ahead of him. The Titans are smart to hold on to him for his prime.

In regards to the cornerback position, they're actually not as thin as people think they are.

Both Jason McCourty and Alterraun Verner are more than capable of being starters in the NFL, and they're not going to tie up nearly as much money as Finnegan would.

As great as Finnegan was during his time with the Titans, a lot of it was over-hyped thanks to his feistiness.

Finnegan often got picked apart by much larger receivers like Andre Johnson, Marques Coltson and Roddy White.

He also sometimes let that fiery attitude hurt his performance, and ultimately hurt the team as a whole.

Everyone will recall his meltdown against the Houston Texans two seasons ago after Johnson completely humiliated him on the field, but there were a handful of other occasions when Finnegan just simply didn't live up to the hype.

The Titans seem content with what they have at the position for now, and to possibly use a first or second round pick on a lockdown cornerback.

By keeping Griffin, they stand to get more in return for Finnegan while keeping veteran leadership at the safety position.

Meanwhile, Griffin has always been great at preventing big plays down the field and laying out receivers who dare to catch one down the middle of the field.

Finally, Griffin will never be criticized for his leadership and his attitude. He may not always play up to his capabilities, but he's always left it all out on the field.

The Titans apparently weren't willing to let that go, and who could blame them?