Are these FA edge rushers – and potential Titans targets – on the verge of stardom or just one-year wonders?

By John Glennon

As he scans the free-agent market in search of help for his team’s woeful pass rush, Titans general manager Jon Robinson will have to consider many things – like productivity, payroll and scheme fit.

But if he was interested in one of at least three pending unrestricted free agents at the edge position, there’s another question that would need answering: Were the players’ big statistical jumps in 2020 representative of a break-through season or evidence of one-year wonder syndrome? In other words, was it merely a coincidence these three players – Arizona’s Haason Reddick, Detroit’s Romeo Okwara and New Orleans’ Trey Hendrickson – put up career-best numbers in the final season of their contracts or not?

Those players aren’t likely to command monstrous salaries on the market, the kind that more experienced edge rushers/outside linebackers like Shaq Barrett, Yannick Ngakoue and Matt Judon are likely to haul in.

So a successful free-agent gamble on a player who hasn’t put up a string of productive years might also turn into a money-saver. On the other hand, if an unproven player returns to lesser numbers after signing a good-sized contract, the organization is left holding the bag.

Take a look at these three examples and see if you think their big 2020 numbers should merit interest from the Titans or not:

Player: Haason Reddick

Current team: Arizona

Position: Edge rusher

Height, weight: 6-1, 235

Age: 26

Yrs. in league: 4

One-year wonder stats: After producing a combined 7.5 sacks in the first three seasons (48 games) of his career, Reddick piled up 12.5 sacks in 16 games during the 2020 season — tied for fourth-best in the NFL. He added 15 tackles for loss, 16 quarterback hits and six forced fumbles.

Why it happened: Arizona returned Reddick to the position he played in college at Temple – outside linebacker – after playing him at inside linebacker for his first three seasons. The results were stunning.

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Comments

  1. I would see any of these three as worth a shot, pending the DC hire and whether or not we go through a scheme change. So eager to start hearing news on the OC/DC front.

  2. I think Reddick is my favorite of the three because his emergence seems so much more about simply having been played out of position.

    Okwara hits my radar pretty hard, too, just because he did what he did while playing for a team that was very rarely playing with a lead and thus had few of those reps where you knew the other team would be passing on the majority of downs.

    That would be my analytical question regarding Hendrickson. Does he have better metrics because of the Saints offense putting pressure on opposing offenses to score quickly and thus benefiting from extra game reps in those “pin-your-ears-back-and-go” scenarios? Even if that is the case, though, I’m hopeful that the Titans will experience more of those moments next season.

    Any of the three feel like worthwhile splashes. Let’s go get two of them! 😆

  3. This makes me think of a time I told my wife, “I don’t think we can go to Europe and build a lake house” She responded, “Why do I have to choose?”

    I wish that were the case. Weren’t we bad enough to justify bringing in all three. Unfortunately, teams have salary caps just like we have budgets.

    I’d like to get a top tier pass rusher, a one year prove it deal player, and draft a pass rusher in the first round.

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