Last offseason, I wrote an analysis of which Titans might be franchise tag candidates. Naturally, after I wrote that, every other starting safety scheduled to hit the market got franchised, and the Titans ended up franchising Michael Griffin and later signing him to a long-term deal. This offseason, I wanted to get the positional analyses done first. While I was in the middle of those, Jim Wyatt reported the Titans were expected to franchise tight end Jared Cook.
Approaching the franchise tag analysis from the same perspective I did last season, there are only two reasonable candidates for the franchise tag: Cook and kicker Rob Bironas. I just wrote about Bironas in my special teams analysis, so I won't rehash that at length here. Suffice it to say he was a below-average kicker in 2012, and the baseline expectation for his 2013 performance should probably be somewhere around average. For purposes of this analysis, it's also worth noting if the Titans wanted to franchise Bironas, his tag amount would not be the $2.977 million figure, but instead be 120% of his 2012 cap number. That 2012 cap number was, I believe, 3.675 million, so his tag amount would be $4.41 million. That would be a very, very large amount to pay a kicker.
As Cook was a non-first-round pick in the final year of his rookie deal, his tag amount is the base tight end figure of $6.066 million. I addressed what I thought of his skills in the tight ends analysis.That post came before Wyatt's report, but it was clear the franchise tag was a possibility. I indicated then, and I still believe, that franchise Jared Cook is not an ideal solution. He's a very, very good vertical seam threat, thanks to excellent straight-line speed, but is not an elite athlete and I would rate him as below average in the other skills involved in being a starter-level tight end in the NFL. Of course, it's possible the Titans think that combination is worth a lot more than I do, and Wyatt's report indicates they do tend to think so.no comments