As the offseason started, the Titans were faced with the daunting situation of their top three safeties from a year ago headed towards the gates of madness also known as unrestricted free agency. The Titans had decisions to make regarding the futures of Michael Griffin, Jordan Babineaux and Chris Hope.
Of course, recent events have shed some light on how the Titans plan to handle the situation at S. Michael Griffin was designated as the team's franchise player and at the very least, should be back for another season. Even though it probably won't become official until Tuesday at the earliest, all indications are that Jordan Babineaux will also return for another season in Nashville. As for Chris Hope, there's a good chance that ship's sailed and he'll be somewhere else in 2012.
More on how the Titans should stack up at safety in 2012...after the jump.
After showing a ton of play-making promise earlier in his career (particularly 2008), Griffin has slowed down a bit over the last couple of seasons. To his credit, he did bounce-back from a terrible '09 season with a solid 2010 campaign and last year, he was fairly productive at times.
With other needs penciled in to be addressed with the team's 1st rounder and a few of the names the Titans were interested in already being snatched up before free agency even started, the Titans came to the realization that they're better off riding with Griff at least for another season.
Griffin's still a talented player but in my opinion, he's still a bit too inconsistent for my tastes. I'm not sold on the prospects of him remaining a Titan beyond this year but for 2012, he'll serve as a capable starter.
Signed by the Titans courtesy of his familiarity with Titans management and the need for some safety depth, Babineaux was a pleasant surprise in 2011. Thanks to his performance, as mentioned earlier, he's expected to re-sign with the Titans once free agency begins.
He'll essentially replace the next guy we're about to talk about as one of the team's starting safeties....
Barring the seemingly unforeseen, Chris Hope has probably played his last down as a member of the Tennessee Titans. For years he was a solid starter who provided excellent leadership skills in the locker room. Unfortunately for Hope, he's reached the point in his career where his play has declined and the team has decided to go in another direction.
Thanks for the memories, Chris Hope.
Rest of the group
Robert Johnson was a 2010 5th rounder who's yet to make much of an impact on the playing field. With Hope's expected departure, Johnson will have his opportunity to be the team's primary backup at the safety position.
Last and probably least on the Titans' S depth chart is Al Afavala. He was a 6th round draft selection by the Chicago Bears in 2009 and has also spent some time with the Colts in 2010.
With the combination of franchising Griffin and likely re-signing Babineaux, the Titans appear to be set at the starting safety spots in 2012. If Johnson doesn't distinguish himself, there's a chance that the Titans could sign a vet to provide some depth, perhaps Anthony Smith, who was on the team's roster in 2011.
If the team's interested in drafting a potential replacement for Griffin, then maybe they'll take a look at Notre Dame's Harrison Smith or Oklahoma St's Markelle Martin: two guys who could be in play in the 2nd-to-4th rounds.
Any thoughts on the S position? Feel free to voice your always welcomed opinions below.