There’s a very good chance the Tennessee Titans will enter the 2019 season without both of their starting outside linebackers from 2018.
Brian Orakpo announced his retirement earlier this off-season after 10 seasons in the NFL, and Derrick Morgan is an unrestricted free agent.
Brian Orakpo announces he is retiring from the NFL. pic.twitter.com/Ap3rcQJ6Yx
— AtoZSports Nashville (@AtoZSports) December 31, 2018
Morgan spoke to reporters in Atlanta on Friday and he sounded like a man who has come to terms with the likelihood that he won’t be playing in Nashville next season.
“I want to see what the market looks like for me, and what my options are outside of Tennessee and we’ll go from there”, Morgan said via Titans Online.
The former first round draft pick added “I think the Titans have a great group of guys in that locker room, so I’ll always wish them success”.
That certainly sounds like someone who knows he’ll be playing with a new team in 2019.
With Orakpo’s retirement, and Morgan probably heading elsewhere, it means that Harold Landry and Kamalei Correa will vault to the top of the Titans’ depth chart.
Landry and Correa combined for eight sacks last season, compared to just two sacks for Orakpo and Morgan.
If the Titans want to upgrade at the position, or add some depth, they’ll have quite a few free agent options. Ezekiel Ansah, DeMarcus Lawrence, Frank Clark, K.J. Wright, Jadeveon Clowney and Brandon Graham are a few of the top pass rushers who are unrestricted free agents this off-season. It’s hard to imagine the Titans spending top dollar for Ansah or Lawrence, but adding someone like Graham could be a possibility (though Graham, specifically, might not be the best schematic fit to fill Morgan’s shoes).
The Titans could also look to upgrade the position via the draft, though it’s hard to project whether or not they’ll be able to land a top pass rusher in the first couple of rounds of the draft (I also think they’ll go with a best player available approach).
Tennessee has money to spend (according to spotrac they have $34.6 million in cap space, after their draft pool money is accounted for), but they might want to save some cash in the event they decide to extend Marcus Mariota.
Whatever transpires, it should certainly be an interesting off-season for the Titans. The decisions they make could shape the future of the franchise for years to come.
Featured image via Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports