Veteran cornerback Drayton Florence was released by the Buffalo Bills last week and is now poised to start his free agency tour with a stop in Tennessee. The 31-year-old Tuskegee product would be a perfect fit for the Titans, and they would be smart to make sure he doesn't leave town.
After drafting South Carolina's Stephon Gilmore with the 10th pick in the 2012 NFL draft, the Buffalo Bills didn't need to keep Florence and his $4 million base salary on the roster. Especially since the nine-year veteran allowed opposing quarterbacks to post a 103.3 passer rating against him in 2011.
To be fair, part of the problem with Buffalo's entire secondary last season was the lack of a consistent pass rush. While the Bills addressed that this offseason by adding Mario Williams and Mark Anderson, they also have younger cornerbacks and Florence is now expendable. After starting 49 of the 50 games he played for the Bills over three seasons, he is now a free agent.
But Buffalo's decision to cut Florence loose could be a huge gain for the Titans, who need help at corner. Tennessee watched their top corner, Cortland Finnegan, walk away in free agency and failed to adequately address the position in the draft.
The team grabbed Clemson corner Coty Sensabaugh in the fourth round, but he appears to be nothing more than a reserve at this point with the potential to develop into a starter in a few years.
The Titans didn't bother to sign a cornerback in free agency before the draft and desperately need someone to be a leader for a group that includes young corners Jason McCourty and Alterraun Verner.
Florence is a physical corner who can mentor both McCourty and Verner, two guys who are probably the future of Tennessee's secondary. The veteran could fit in as the team's slot corner, a position Finnegan manned in 2011. He would fill a big-time need and instantly improve the team's defense.
With the San Diego Chargers—the team that drafted Florence back in 2003—interested and lurking, the Titans simply can't allow him to get out of town. They need to make him an offer and bring him on board immediately.