4 Veterans Tennessee Titans Must Part Ways with Before 2014 Season
It's almost never easy to let go of classy veterans that have helped your team in the past, and it won't be easy for the Tennessee Titans to move on from some of their veterans.
The Titans are currently in a spot where they're just a few pieces away from having a playoff-caliber team. The moves they make this offseason will be critical, including which veteran they decide to pay big money to keep.
There will be plenty of new faces walking into the Titans locker room next season, but these four veterans should, unfortunately, not return in a Titans uniform.
Sometimes the free-agency experiment doesn't work out, and that seems to be the case with Kamerion Wimbley. He just didn't fit the system he was put into, and it's hard to justify the Titans paying him the money he's owed if he returns.
Wimbley was the consolation prize in the offseason that the Titans made a run at Peyton Manning. Only nine sacks in two seasons means that the Titans need to chalk this one up as a swing and a miss. Even if Wimbley was in a system that didn't fit his strengths, those numbers don't deserve the $6 million he's owed in 2014.
Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean doesn't see it making sense for Wimbley to return for the 2014 season.
#Titans still haven't approached DE Kamerion Wimbley about a pay cut. He fits new defense, but his $6M base for 2014 is steep— Jim Wyatt (@jwyattsports) March 5, 2014
The Titans also were successful in re-signing Ropati Pitoitua recently, so that leaves even less room for Wimbley's return.
Furthermore, Derrick Morgan's best football seems to be ahead of him. The Titans just need to add depth at defensive end, and overpaying for an aging Wimbley wouldn't make sense.
David Stewart has enjoyed some good years with the Titans, but it's probably time to part ways in the best interest of both parties.
The Titans have to be careful not to overpay for players who aren't really going to help them in the future, and Stewart fits that mold as being overpaid, according to Paul Kuharsky of ESPN.com.
There are several promising offensive tackle prospects in the upcoming draft, and the Titans should have a chance at getting one of them. The Titans can target one of these guys if they don't have any luck in free agency.
Stewart is owed $6.4 million if he returns. No way the Titans can fork out that kind of money for a player that is on the decline.
Just to be clear, Moise Fokou isn't going anywhere until later in the offseason when position battles begin in training camp. With that said, Fokou shouldn't return in 2014, unless he completely goes nuts in training camp to prove his worth.
The Titans are evolving on defense into one that will rush the passer often, and Fokou doesn't really fit that mold. He had a pedestrian 2013 season that was full of injuries and inconsistent play.
There still seems to be more value in holding onto Colin McCarthy than keeping Fokou at age 28. McCarthy has a higher ceiling at this point in his career as long as he can stay healthy.
The draft will make things more clear on what the Titans will do at linebacker. If the Titans are fortunate enough to draft Anthony Barr or C.J. Mosley, then that will really make it easy to eventually cut Fokou.
It's always hard to justify releasing your most electrifying player on the roster, but that's where the Titans sit right now with Chris Johnson.
Johnson's $8 million salary cannot return in 2014. People can argue for his 1,000-yard seasons all they want. In today's NFL, simply rushing for 1,000 yards doesn't earn you $8 million.
The Titans lone free-agent splash was nabbing Dexter McCluster for a three-year contract worth $12 million. That's a reach in itself for McCluster, but it further solidifies the idea that Johnson is done in Tennessee. McCluster at least offers more versatility as a kick returner, and he obviously comes with a cheaper price tag.
An article from Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean says that a trade will be very difficult for the Titans, which is unfortunate. They'll most likely get nothing in return for Johnson, making that huge contract a bust.
In many ways, Johnson is keeping this offense from moving forward. He's become a one-trick pony who's one trick rarely works anymore. Sometimes you just have to cut your losses and move on.