Mario Manningham to Titans: Why Ex-Giants WR Would Look Good in Tennessee

Daniel BarnesCorrespondent IIIMarch 12, 2012

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 05:  Mario Manningham #82 of the New York Giants makes a catch on the sidelines against Patrick Chung #25 (L) and Sterling Moore #29 (obscured) of the New England Patriots for a gain of 39 yards in the fourth quarter during Super Bowl XLVI at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 5, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

Even after franchising safety Michael Griffin, the Tennessee Titans have a ton of cap space. I think some of that space will be used to address the wide receiver position.

There are a lot of guys that the Titans will look at in free agency, but the one I think they'd like to bring in the most is Mario Manningham. And there are a lot of reasons why.

First of all, Manningham is not a No. 1 receiver. He is a second option, which is really what the Titans need.

Kenny Britt—if he comes back healthy and manages to stay on the field this time—will be the No. 1 option at receiver. He had fantastic production in 2010 and looked great again in his limited time on the field in 2011. If he's back, he's the go-to guy.

After Britt, the Titans have Nate Washington, who is great on third downs, but has some injury problems himself. After Washington is Damien Williams, who can be good at times, but has not been consistent. After Williams is Lavelle Hawkins, who is pretty good, but he's just a depth guy.

It sounds like a great group, but when you remove the No. 1 guy from the mix, it starts to look shaky. Without Britt, the receiving options are a guy who has had some injury problems, a guy who struggles with consistency, and a depth guy.

Not great.

Manningham would make that lineup look a lot better, fitting in between Britt and Washington.

The best thing about having another talented wide receiver on the roster is that he'd help the depth against corners. While Washington is a good receiver, he didn't do well matched up against No. 1 corners.

Put Joe Haden on Washington and you won't see him open the whole game. While that by itself isn't the worst thing that could happen, the problem gets compounded as you move down the depth chart.

Williams and Hawkins end up playing across from better coverage guys than they're used to, and they suffer the same problems as Washington does against the No. 1 cover corner.

With Manningham on the roster, that problem disappears. If Britt is out (which he inevitably will be, whether by injury or for rest), then Washington won't be the only legitimate threat on the field, and those mismatches won't be as big.

Another great thing about Manningham is his upside. It's quite possible that Manningham could be a legitimate No. 1 receiver who has been overshadowed by others on his team.

Manningham put up 523 receiving yards and five touchdowns last season, and that was with Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz on the roster. In 2010, before Cruz broke out, Manningham put up 944 yards and nine touchdowns. Even then, he was the second option to Hakeem Nicks.

That's pretty darn good production for a No. 2 (or 3, after Cruz) option. By having Manningham compete for the second spot with Washington, or even the first spot with Britt, Tennessee could see the favorable side of mismatches.

Think back to the Giants' game against Dallas, where the Cowboys covered Cruz pretty well for the first half, and Nicks had a 163-yard game because the Cowboys couldn't cover both receivers.

When the talent level of receivers isn't as tiered as it is with the Titans, mismatches happen, and it improves the passing game.

Manningham fits what the Titans are looking for in a receiver, he's a proven commodity, and he has a lot of upside. He's a perfect fit.

Then again, maybe the Titans will just land Peyton Manning and he'll bring along Reggie Wayne. Either way, I won't complain.