As circumstances would have it, all three of the Titans who can play nickelback will become free agents if not re-signed by Thursday, the 26th.
Vince Fuller, Eric King and Chris Carr are all valuable players and I’d like to see all three return. The law of averages says that’s unlikely to happen, though. All three players are looking for more playing time on defense, Fuller as a safety and King and Carr as cornerbacks. Barring injury to someone else, each of them will probably continue as nickelbacks, assuming they re-sign with Tennessee.
Drexel took a look at the trio, among others, in his positional analysis of the cornerbacks, and I agree with him that Fuller is the most likely to leave. He played both corner and safety in college and, other than nickel, is probably best suited to play free safety. That won’t happen with the Titans, though, as long as Michael Griffin is healthy, so if more playing time is what he really wants, he’d have a better chance of getting it elsewhere.
King is the Titans third-best cornerback, but his best chance for getting more playing time there would be if either of the starters, Cortland Finnegan and Nick Harper, is injured. His best chance overall, though, would be at nickel if Fuller leaves.
Carr is fourth on the depth chart at corner and he can also play some safety and nickel. However, he’s somewhat of a liability in pass coverage and his real value to the team is more as a returner, which is why I’d like to see him re-signed. I don’t see how he’ll get much more playing time in the secondary, barring injury. Patrick Patterson of Thoughts from the Darkside gave us a good scouting report on Carr last April, accurately predicting what kind of player he would be for the Titans and I believe all of us want to see more of the same this year..
As Drexel pointed out in another article, former DC Jim Schwartz may have his eyes on Carr and Fuller, and I suspect he wouldn’t mind having King either. The Lions were 27th in pass defense last year (yardage) and 30th in TD passes allowed. Detroit was 16th in the league, middle of the pack, in sacks, so they were putting adequate pressure on opposing passers. Their weak link was the secondary, so Schwartz needs all the help he can get there.
Of course, Detroit isn’t the only team that needs help in the secondary, or the return game, for that matter. Any of the three that the Titans don’t re-sign has a good chance of getting more playing time elsewhere.
What are your thoughts about Fuller, Carr and King?