Last year, the Tennessee Titans went 2-14 and were bad on both sides of the ball. General manager Ruston Webster is hoping to avoid a repeat of that ugliness in 2015, and is doing it by signing defensive talent. On Friday morning, Webster re-signed outside linebacker Derrick Morgan to a four-year, $30 million deal while also landing Brian Orakpo on a four-year, $27 million contract, per Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean.
Tennessee actually had a good pass-rush last season with 39 sacks, and only adds to that strength by bringing in Orakpo. While the former University of Texas star does struggle with injuries, he is a monster when healthy. Orakpo had 10 sacks in 15 games during the 2013 season before only playing seven games last year. Tennessee needs a quality edge-rusher, and a healthy Orakpo provides that.
Earlier in free agency, the Titans inked safety Da’Norris Searcy to a four-year, $24 contract, bolstering a mediocre secondary. Tennessee ranked 15th against the pass last year and 18th in yards allowed per pass in 2014. Upgrading the back end remains a necessity, but the acquisition of Searcy begins to solidify the group.
Tennessee still needs all kinds of help to become a playoff team. Zach Mettenberger is unproven under center and the skill positions are middling with Kendall Wright, Bishop Sankey and Delanie Walker leading the way. All three players have talent, but is that a trio ready to make a big push toward the playoffs in 2015? The offensive line also needs to be fixed, although Webster got off to a fine start by booting Michael Oher.
In the AFC South, the Indianapolis Colts are going to win the division for years to come. Unless Andrew Luck goes rogue and demands a trade, or gets injured, Indianapolis is light-years ahead of the rest of the South. Still, Tennessee can make serious progress by jumping over the Jacksonville Jaguars and Houston Texans.
With the second-overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, the Titans have another opportunity to bring in a major player. If Webster can hit on a few players, Tennessee will be on the fast track to better days.