2013 Cap hit for all Safeties – $9.3m (8.7% of team spend) Players under contract: Michael Griffin (6’0”, 203) – 27 years old 2013 Cap Number - $6.3m ($3.5m salary* (see BQ1) + $1.8m SB pro-rata + $1m roster bonus) 2014 Cap Number – $8m ($6.2m salary + $1.8m SB pro-rata) 2015 Cap Number – $8.1m ($6.3m salary + $1.8m SB pro-rata) Jordan Babineaux (6’0”,210) – 30 years old 2013 Cap Number - $1.8m ($1.6m salary + $0.2m SB pro-rata) 2014 Cap Number – UFA Al Afalava (5’11”, 212) – 25 years old 2013 Cap Number – $0.630m 2014 Cap Number – UFA Rpbert Johnson (6’2”,206) – 25 years old 2013 Cap Number – $0.630m 2014 Cap Number – RFA Markelle Martin (6’0”, 207) – 22 years old 2013 Cap Number - $0.502m ($0.48m salary + $0.022m SB pro-rata) 2013 Cap Number - $0.592m ($0.57m salary + $0.022m SB pro-rata) 2013 Cap Number - $0.682m ($0.66m salary + $0.022m SB pro-rata) 3 burning questions 1. Griffin sucks. Why don’t we cut his ass? Firstly, as infuriatingly inconsistent as Griffin is, his replacement certainly isn’t on our roster. Secondly, let’s discuss his contract. There are multiple references to Griffin’s salary becoming guaranteed on day 5 of the league year. That is true for 2013. At the moment, his 2013 salary is only guaranteed for injury (not skill). If the Titans cut Griffin before then, they don’t have to pay him another cent (in actual money). However, Griffin has $7.2m of his $9m Signing Bonus yet to be amortised against the cap. If we keep him this year, he counts $6.3m against the cap. If we cut him, he counts $7.2m against the cap. He’s not going anywhere. 2. Where does Markelle Martin fit in? It was disappointing to see him sidelined all last season, but at least he didn’t have to be part of the suckage that was our 2012 season. He played both safety spots at Oklahoma State, but most draft publications projected him to Free Safety in the pros. His run support was a real highlight of his game at the college level, however so given our gaping hole at SS, he may some time there for the Titans next season. If we bring in a stud starter to pair with Griffin, then Martin projects as the #1 backup at both spots. 3. Are RoJo, Alfalfa and Babs all gone? Babs is done without question. I can’t imagine a scenario that has him returning to the Titans. Alfalfa and RoJo are probably fighting for 1 spot depending on the moves we make in free agency and who performs best on Special teams in the pre-season. Neither of them should get too comfortable, however as a full-scale makeover of this position is likely. Free Agency: Safety ties with Guard as the positions we need to address in Free Agency. Whilst we may also add a guy through the draft, I think we would be very uncomfortable getting to the draft with our current group as our only safeties on the roster. A number of pure Strong Safeties as well as some guys that could play either spot will be highly sought after in FA. Contracts for top safeties certainly aren’t at the same level as CB, so I expect us to be a player. William Moore Ed Reed Jarius Byrd Jim Leonhard Louis Delmas Kenny Phillips Glover Quin Patrick Chung Abram Elam Chris Clemons Dashon Goldson LaRon Landry Yeremiah Bell Madieu Williams Possible Cap Casualties: Kerry Rhodes Roman Harper Potential Draft Targets: Like all positions, our strategy at Safety depends very much on how we fare in Free Agency. I think the need is so great at G and SS that we need to address these positions with proven vets and won’t wait until the draft. There are some good prospects in the draft for consideration in the 2nd and 3rd round. Eric Reid, LSU Matt Elam, Florida Kenny Vaccaro, Texas Baccari Rambo, Georgia Robert Lester, Alabama Shamarko Thomas, Syracuse Summary Blind Freddy could see that our play at the safety position was disgraceful in 2012 and a repeat performance can’t be tolerated. Babineaux and, before him, Hope, both proved short-term fixes that were exposed in the long run. Griffin still is maddeningly inconsistent, but it makes no sense to get rid of him this season. Hopefully Martin proves to be a steal and can thrive in 2013, but any way you look at it, we need to be aggressive in Free Agency to upgrade this position. My take It will be interesting to see which of the free agents listed will be re-signed or franchised before free agency starts. Mayhew has already said the Lions aren’t going to use the franchise tag, which means my #1 target Louis Delmas should be available. Reid and Byrd are near certainties to get tagged, but guys like Moore, Chung and Leonhard should be available and would all be an upgrade over our current starters. If we address the position with one of the top FAs, I wouldn’t expect to see the Titans draft a safety until the late rounds to compete for the #4 spot with RoJo and Alfalfa.