It took a week and a half before the Titans finally signed a free agent who was not previously one of their own. Cowboys’ restricted free agent Ryan Fowler signed an offer sheet from the Titans which was reported to be a four-year deal for $11.5 million.
Contrary to earlier reports, Fowler did not sign an offer sheet from the Philadelphia Eagles, said Fowler’s agent Alan Herman.
Dallas will have one week to match the Titans’ offer and keep Fowler. It doesn’t seem that the ‘Boys will match the offer for a player who they projected to be a backup for them this year. Since Fowler was an undrafted free agent, he will not cost the Titans a draft pick as compensation if the deal goes through.
The news also tells me the Titans don’t yet have a comfort level with second-year player Stephen Tulloch, who will have to fend off Fowler for the middle linebacker job. It would seem that Fowler will have the inside track for the job. The Titans certainly are not about to shell out 11½ million clams for a special teams player.
Fowler was a backup in Dallas and projected to be second on their depth chart behind Bradie James. All of his 24 tackles last year were on special teams, which led the Cowboys in that category. Here’s Fowler’s bio from the Cowboys.
This is the Scouts Inc scouting report on him:
Fowler is tenacious and tough. He is a physical upfield defender. He isnt afraid to step up and fill against the run. He uses his hands fairly well and will deliver a blow. He is a good finisher. He is steady against the run and has an excellent motor. But Fowler is a straight-line player who isnt particularly agile or fluid. He doesnt change directions or move laterally very well. He lacks great speed and range. He has trouble in turn-and-run coverage situations, getting to the perimeter and playing in space. He isnt much of a playmaker.
Although it may upgrade a position, this was not exactly a pressing need for Tennessee. The defensive end, cornerback, receiver and running back positions may have been searched for in GM Mike Reinfeldt’s free agent hunt, but he hasn’t bagged any of them yet. Jeff Fisher declared that the Titans had a plan and would not go into the draft with a need at all these positions, but the pickings are beginning to get slim.
In the most recent news, receivers Donte’ Stallworth and Kelley Washington, two players the Titans were reportedly interested in, both signed with the Patriots.
Titans fans are getting impatient. They want to see results beyond adding competition at positions which are not a priority.
I just can’t get too excited by this move, especially when you consider the middle linebacker is only on the field for no more than 40% of the snaps in the Titans’ defensive scheme.