The Tennessee Titans had to trim the roster from 75 to 53 by Saturday afternoon at 5 PM CT. I will be using this post to update and comment on the reported releases. The following cuts have been reported thus far:
S Al Afalava
OT Daniel Baldridge
TE Brandon Barden (injured)
DT Stefan Charles
DT Zach Clayton
TE Jack Doyle
LB Gary Guyton
DT DaJohn Harris
S Corey Lynch
WR Marc Mariani (to injured reserve)
FB Collin Mooney
DE Nigel Nicholas
RB Jalen Parmele
LB Tim Shaw
QB Rusty Smith
LB Scott Solomon
G Kasey Studdard
WR Rashad Ross
C/G Fernando Velasco
WR Dontel Watkins
LB Jonathan "Tig" Willard
CB Khalid Wooten
All names listed above came from The Usual Suspects on Twitter, though others may have been first (e.g. Adam Caplan on Velasco), and were subsequently confirmed by the team in media releases and formally reported on the NFL's official transaction list.
With the release of Afalava, I will not get my entire roster prediction right. This might be good news for Corey Lynch or, less likely, Daimion Stafford. At one point I thought Parmele would have the edge on Jackie Battle, but the Titans made it clear throughout the preseason they liked Battle more. The other reported cuts thus far never had a realistic shot to make the team in my mind.
Saturday morning's early cuts include a couple more names in Tim Shaw and Rusty Smith I did not predict. Rusty was obviously on the bubble givne the other roster needs, but I really did not expect the Titans to cut Shaw, who was the special teams captain, played extensively early in the preseason, is on a unit that has been hit hard by injuries, has been healthy as a Titan unlike the at-least-for-now remining Patrick Bailey, and was not expensive. I would not be surprised to see the Titans scour the waiver wire for other linebackers.
Marc Mariani is headed to injured reserve. It is reportedly not the short-term version so he may be out for the year.
Corey Lynch cut, a move that was not a surprise to me but that Daimion Stafford won the job as the fourth safety is. I would not be surprised to see the Titans scour the waiver wire for a backup free safety and try to sneak Stafford onto the practice squad. I predicted earlier this month that Fernando Velasco would be the starting center; apparently, the Titans were more tired of his faults than I thought they were and decided to go with Rob Turner as the starter and the cheaper Chris Spencer as the non-Brian Schwenke swing backup.
The Titans are down to the mandatory 53. Now we just have to see if they add any players at waiver wire, particularly a safety or a linebacker or two. Once we know whether that will happen, I will write up my analysis of the final-ish roster.
I too, don't understand the Mariani deal?? Should've cut Walter (worse injury) and put Mariani on the shorter IR. Very puzzling. I hope that we're able to snag a FS somehow. I'm okay with keeping Stafford, for special teams, but that gives us 3 Strong safetys and 1 free safety.
@Mark from Madison Walter doesn't count against the roster and basically guarantees the Titans a quality receiver if we have injuries, otherwise they will release him. The shorter I.R isn't for a kick returner when you could possibly need it for someone more important when the season starts. I feel he got a raw deal seems how someone would have signed him when he's healthy in a couple weeks like the Rams. The safety situation boils down to they want Wilson and Pollard to teach this kid to play so he can take over in a year or two. As for free safety the team clearly thinks Alteraun Verner can play there if Griffin were to get hurt and Wilson could also play there in a pinch.
I just got back from vacation but was able to watch the Titans Falcons game on DVR. I am curious of your thoughts on Taylor Thompson. He is a beast at blocking and on his two receptions look really smooth and comfortable catching the ball.
@dragak1981 No question Thompson is a quality blocker on the move. I need to see more of him on offense, but early signs are catching is improved. Will he actually get thrown the ball, though?
The release of Shaw and Velasco surprised me. I have been a Velasco fan since I watched him play in his senior year at Georgia. I can't believe that the team opted to go with Spencer just to save a little over a million dollars. If Spencer has to play this year, the Titans will regret this decision. I hope he ends up in Denver and gets a shot at the playoffs this year. Shaw was a great special teamer - better than Bailey. Was this decisio based on money too?
I was shocked to see what happened to Mariani. Putting him on IR and paying him almost 600 million (when he will be health in a couple of weeks) is just stupid. It punishes him and probably sets back his development as a football player. It will be difficult for him to sit out two full years and be able to come back as the same player he was in 2011. It also does nothing for the Titans. He is not going to re-sign with the Titans next year. He will go elsewhere after being prematurely shutdown this year. If this decision was just to spite Fisher and the Rams, Munchak needs to go into therapy. But I can't see any other reason for doing it.
@Scott P The Titans did not have an elegant solution with Mariani. If his shoulder injury heals quickly, they could get him off IR with an injury settlement and re-sign him six weeks later if they still want. Given the injuries, I doubt they want. If his shoulder injury lingers, well, he'll be on IR all season.
I cover the Spencer over Velasco call in my latest post. If you think about them just as guards, it makes sense.
@Scott P The reason they did it is because Mariani is clearly the guy they wanted to win the return duties. He is a game breaker like Reynaud but he is smart in not bringing the ball out to the 10 yard line as often as Reynaud did too. If they released him they know someone like Fisher would have signed him, this insures they can have a shot at signing him next year before other teams can negotiate with him. It sucks for Mariani but the money is an interesting problem if they want to short term IR he has to be ON the roster to start game 1, which means we would have to cut Reynaud or someone else then after week 1 resign them hopefully and place Mariani on short term IR. His salary is guaranteed for injury meaning no matter if we cut him or IR him he gets paid 630,000. His injury limited what they can do with him and guaranteed his salary.
As for Shaw and Velasco I was beyond shocked. Shaw over Bailey seemed a given to me given his health last year, he was the team captain and I thought they were keeping both to be honest. As for Velasco I thought he was the lone bright spot last year on the O-line. Spencer may be cheaper but I would have rather kept Shaw if that was the case. As for money Bailey and Shaw were both on the same deal around a million each so it must be have to do with the fact Bailey plays OLB and Shaw inside and with Ayer, Brown and Gooden all injured to some degree depth probably on defense meant more than who the better special teamer is.
Hope that helps a little.