After a 5-0 start to the season, the Tennessee Titans have dropped back-to-back games and find themselves in a tie for first in the AFC South Division with the rival Indianapolis Colts. While the Titans have been prolific on offense all season, there is no denying that Mike Vrabel’s team could benefit greatly from addressing some of their weaknesses on defense. With the NFL trade deadline now just over 24 hours away, here are three Titans trade targets that could help Tennessee position themselves as legitimate AFC contenders.
Titans Trade Targets Before NFL Trade Deadline
Ryan Kerrigan | DE | Washington Football Team
The crux of the Titans’ problems defensively lies in an underperforming defensive front. Through the first eight weeks, Tennessee is tied for the worst sack rate in the NFL, at 2.48%. That number won’t cut it for any team that is seeking to contend for a Super Bowl, especially for one whose front seven includes a pair of first-round picks, in tackle Jeffery Simmons and linebacker Rashaan Evans, along with notable free agent acquisitions Jadeveon Clowney and Vic Beasley.
The Titans secondary hasn’t played well either, although the team did trade for former Los Angeles Chargers cornerback Desmond King. The final piece to the puzzle is adding a consistent edge rusher, and Ryan Kerrigan fits that mold perfectly. Kerrigan has openly requested for the Washington Football Team to trade him before Tuesday’s NFL trade deadline. Although Washington remains in contention thanks to playing in the NFC East, the best move for Ron Rivera’s team is to acquire more draft capital and continue playing for the future. Kerrigan tops the list of Titans trade targets and would immediately pay dividends to a defense starved for more playmakers.
Cameron Fleming | OT | New York Giants
The Titans suffered a devastating injury to their offensive line a couple of weeks ago, when star left tackle Taylor Lewan saw his season ended by way of a torn ACL. While the unit has maintained their top-10 spot in Football Outsiders’ adjusted rankings for both run blocking and pass protection (7th and 3rd, respectively), making a play for an offensive tackle at the NFL trade deadline is not out of the question.
28-year old Cameron Fleming was a fourth-round draft choice by the New England Patriots in 2014. He is a right tackle by trade, but his addition would afford the Titans more flexibility up front as they work to lessen the blow of losing Lewan. Inserting Fleming at the right tackle position would allow the Titans to move Dennis Kelley to the left side, where he played well in Tennessee’s first four games when they were without Lewan due to a suspension. Fleming has played 100% of the Giants’ offensive snaps in his five starts this season and could potentially be acquired for a bargain price at the NFL trade deadline.
Riley Reiff | OT | Minnesota Vikings
Originally, the third Titans trade target in this article was reserved for a Stephon Gilmore trade. With news breaking that the team traded for Desmond King while this article was being written, we’ll pivot to another offensive tackle option. For the same reasons laid out in the case for acquiring Fleming above, Riley Reiff would be another effective Band-Aid type of solution for the Titans at the tackle position.
Where a trade could be tricky here comes down to how the Vikings view their 2020 season outlook. After a 1-5 start, the team knocked off the NFC North-leading Green Bay Packers this past weekend to essentially keep their season alive. If Minnesota opts to sell some assets at the deadline, Reiff would be a more cap-friendly get for the Titans than at one time given that his restructured contract now only has his base salary at $6 million. The nine-year veteran is a starting-caliber lineman and would fortify a left tackle position that currently lists Ty Sambrailo and no backups on the team’s depth chart.