The Chicago Bears announced on Monday that they would not apply the franchise tag to superstar wide receiver Alshon Jeffery. This means that Jeffery can freely test the free agent waters to see whose jersey he will wear next. Jeffery is set to be the most sought-after free agent wide receiver by far this period. Cash-strapped teams or teams who already have a transcendent number one won’t be vying for his services; very few teams have the requisite space. For Alshon Jeffery, there is only one team that makes sense for his future: the Tennessee Titans.[Jeff]
There will be eight teams with over $60 million cap room. Some, like the Colts, have more pressing matters than a wide receiver. Others, like the 49ers, don’t have a quarterback to throw Jeffery the football (literally). The team with the most cap space, the Browns, qualify as “all of the above” (plus they should worry about re-signing their own amazing wide receiver). While I’m sure the Buccaneers would like Jeffery next to Mike Evans, they have more pressing needs than that (though if they cut Vincent Jackson, they’ll have the cap space). Washington must worry about sorting out their quarterback situation before they start diving into free agency. That leaves Tennessee as the best suitor for his services.
The Titans can pay the man. As already hinted, they are among the leaders in cap space. They currently have $67 million in cap room. They do not have so many pressing needs at other positions that they can ignore wide receivers. With all respect to Tajae Sharpe and Rishard Matthews, I would classify wide receiver as a need.
That brings us to the second reason why the Tennessee Titans-Jeffery pairing is a match made in heaven; the Titans have a decent receiving corps, but desperately need a true #1 wide receiver. Matthews performed well last year, but he is not as transcendent as Alshon Jeffery. Jeffery as a capstone to their receiving corps would mean a huge step forward for the Tennessee offense.
Possibly the biggest reason why Jeffery should prefer to take his talents to Nashville is the young signal caller. Marcus Mariota is quickly becoming one of the best young quarterbacks in the NFL and is set to return on the promise of his #2 overall pick. Jeffery will have the chance to become one of the best QB-WR tandems in the league as he and Mariota grow together. Throw in Derrick Henry and you have the beginnings of a formidable triplet in the making.
The triplets will be setup to do something that nobody has been able to do consistently since Peyton Manning left the division: wrest control of the AFC South from the other three competitors. The Titans went 9-7 last year and ended on an offensive upswing. With Jeffery in tow, they could mow down the rest of the flawed division and easily solidify control of it for the next several years.
Alshon Jeffery will have plenty of suitors this offseason, but only one team makes sense. The Titans have the perfect mix of cap space, positional need, core roster for the future and winnable division. For his pocketbook and glory, Alshon Jeffery should start looking towards the Tennessee Titans.