Since the Tennessee Titans finished 2-14 and locked up the 2nd overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, rumors have been swirling around the league about what they would do with it. First the Titans were supposed to take either Jameis Winston or Marcus Mariota, then they were going to take USC defensive lineman Leonard Williams; but now what?
Well, the latest rumors coming out of Nashville indicate that the Titans may now be looking to trade their 1st round selection. At the end of the day, this route may be the best option for the Titans.
Let’s face it, the Titans need any and all the help they can manage to get this offseason: quarterback Jake Locker retired, the team hasn’t had a postseason appearance since 2008, and they haven’t won a playoff game 2003. Fans are starting to itch for some extra football in January.
If the Titans select Winston or Mariota, they’re taking a chance. There’s no guarantee that either of these players will amount to anything in the NFL; and with the talent (or lack thereof) that the Titans have on roster, the team would be setting a rookie quarterback up to fail much like Zach Mettenberger did in his seven games this season.
Leonard Williams would be a great addition to the defense, especially with Brian Orakpo joining the squad over the offseason. The Titans also have Wesley Woodyard on defense who is one of the best up-and-coming linebackers in the NFL. Unfortunately, unless Williams is the next J.J. Watt or Mario Williams (which is very unlikely), he will not bring enough to the defense to warrant a legitimate shot at a playoff appearance.
What the Titans need is a leader, preferably a quarterback—they can certainly get that from the San Diego Chargers in the form of Philip Rivers. According to rumors coming out of San Diego, the Chargers may be trying to move their long-time quarterback to Tennessee in a draft day trade for the 2nd overall pick, most likely for Winston or Mariota. The Chargers Super Bowl window is closed, and so there’s no point in keeping their aging quarterback around.
At 33 and on the downslope of his career, Rivers is not about to lead a team on a miraculous Super Bowl run; but the Titans aren’t looking for the next Air McNair—really, they’ll take what they can get at this point.
Rivers knows what it takes to quarterback a team to victory, as he has for so many years in San Diego. Rivers isn’t exactly an elite quarterback, but he’s a solid option given the right players and a good coaching staff. Given a season or two, Rivers can give the Titans exactly what they need—a playoff appearance.
At this point that’s all the Titans really need. Players don’t want to play for a team that they feel is going nowhere, which is why the Oakland Raiders and Jacksonville Jaguars have problems obtaining contributors year after year. Rivers can bring a winning attitude to a team that desperately need it, and the players and coaching staff will follow.
Let another team take a chance on a rookie. There’s no guarantee that either of them will succeed; and much like Blake Bortles and the Jags, they may find themselves picking in the top five again next season.
The Titans would be smart to accept an offer for Philip Rivers; and then in a few years when it comes time for him to retire, they will already be set up to continue to succeed moving forward.