Though the NFL trade deadline is rarely as active as the deadlines in the NBA or MLB, nearly every season sees at least two or three players swapping teams midseason.
With the Tennessee Titans coming off of a potentially season-saving win against Pittsburgh, the time is right to take a look at the potential moves they could make to establish themselves as a legitimate wild-card contender in a convoluted AFC.
1. Trade for a Defensive End
While it is unlikely, and probably unnecessary, that the Titans would give up the draft picks and/or players it would take to bring in a high-profile defensive end, the team is severely lacking depth behind its two starters.
Derrick Morgan and Kamerion Wimbley have both been able to generate some pressure throughout the first six weeks, but they have been forced to stay on the field all day and have worn down when the team has needed them in the third and fourth quarters.
Bringing in a player like Phillip Hunt from Philadelphia or Will Smith from New Orleans—while not earth-shattering moves—would greatly help the Titans rotation of defensive ends and provide another pass-rusher to a team that needs to get to the quarterback with its front four.
2. Trade for a Veteran Cornerback
After spending much of the offseason talking about the progress of cornerback Tommie Campbell, the Titans have kept the second-year player on the bench for much of the season, playing him mainly on special teams.
While Ryan Mouton has filled in as the team's third cornerback, his inability to play on the outside has prevented defensive coordinator Jerry Gray from using Alterraun Verner in the slot, the original plan heading into the regular season.
By trading for someone like Seattle's Marcus Trufant, the Titans would be able to utilize Verner's playmaking all over the defense and allow Gray to be more creative with his use of linebackers and safeties.
3. Deal Lavelle Hawkins for a Late-Round Draft Pick
Though Hawkins is unlikely to ever be a star receiver, he has shown throughout his career that he can make plays with the ball in his hands and could provide another team with a solid option in the slot.
Now sitting behind Kenny Britt, Nate Washington, Jared Cook, Kendall Wright and Damian Williams as potential targets for Titans quarterbacks, Hawkins simply does not have a role on the team at this point.
It likely will be difficult for the Titans to bring in much more than a seventh-round draft choice or a conditional pick, but they would be best served by cutting ties with Hawkins and using the roster spot at a position with less depth.
4. Make a Move for an Interior Offensive Line
There may not be any offensive lineman that immediately come to mind, but one thing has become crystal clear early on this season.
Eugene Amano is not the only problem.
Fernando Velasco has struggled to adapt to becoming an every-down center and Leroy Harris has continued to disappoint, despite shifting to the right side of the offensive line.
With a struggling running game and a young quarterback who needs to avoid hits, the Titans should look to shake up the line in the hopes of finding someone who can spark the entire unit.
One Move that Should Not Be Made
Trading Chris Johnson.
While the calls have quieted a bit after his second strong performance in three games, many Titans fans have gotten tired of the well-compensated running back.
However, Johnson has started to show the quickness and vision that made him one of the most productive running backs in football and, with an increasingly productive passing game, Johnson should start to develop some more consistency as the year wears on.
Likely to bring little in return in a trade at this point, Johnson's best chance of rediscovering his groove remains in Nashville.
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