We've probably seen the end of Delanie Walker, but the Titans need to seek more guys like him

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Delanie Walker was an anomaly, a free-agent find who came to Tennessee and did more here than he did before, way exceeding expectations.

In seven seasons in San Francisco where he was a blocker behind Vernon Davis, he never caught more than 29 passes and totaled 123.

In seven seasons in Tennessee, he maxed out with a 94-catch season and totaled 381.DWalkerWave

That came with 28 touchdowns, one more than Frank Wycheck had in nine seasons with the franchise. [Unlocked]

The general manager Ruston Webster could never have foreseen that level of contribution, but he deserves a great deal of credit nonetheless. Free agents a team doesn't have a previous connection with can be dangerous. Walker as been a rousing success.

He landed on IR Wednesday, unable to come back from a lingering setback from the severe ankle and lower leg injury he suffered on Sep. 9, 2018 in the Titans' season opener at Miami.WalkerColts2

Even for the stretch where he was healthy, the Titans were not using him in a significant way. In the five games he played, he averaged just under 25 snaps. He pulled in 21 catches for 215 yards and two TDs.

That’s very likely it for him with the Titans, and if he seeks an opportunity elsewhere it could be difficult for him to find one coming off an injury and at his age. He will turn 36 on Aug. 12, 2020.

He is under contract for one more year, due a base salary of $5.4 million, a $750,000 roster bonus on the fifth day of the league year, a $50,000 workout bonus and a maximum of $500,000 in per-game roster bonuses.

That amounts to a cap number of $8.366 million. If the Titans cut him they’d be left with $1.66 million in dead money, an accounting charge against their cap. They've done OK with Jonnu Smith as their lead pass-catching tight end. He was drafted in the third round in 2017 to eventually replace Walker.TicketsBox

Walker didn’t just bring the Titans excellent production, he brought them a dying brand of leadership, where he’d call things like he saw them, unafraid of ruffling teammates, management or coaches he was looking to awaken.

In 2017 after a 12-9 overtime win in Cleveland against the pathetic Browns, who would not win a game that year, the Titans celebrated, touting any win being a good win.

Except for Walker.

“I’m not too happy,” Walker said, his right foot in a walking boot after he sprained his ankle early in overtime. “Everyone else is probably happy we came away with the W. But you know me, I’m a realist. The Browns, they’re a good team, but the way we played today, it’s just disappointing.

“If we say we want to be a powerhouse team, these are the kind of games you come out and you beat them, fearlessly. You don’t let them think they have a chance to be in the game and we did that today.

“We need to stop playing to the level of our opponents when they’re not a good team. That’s what that says. And when we do that, yeah, it makes you not a good team. When you play to the level of your opponent, that kind of shoots you in the foot. You look at the teams that were good teams, we play better. When you look at teams that are not so good, we kind of play to that level.”

Odds are high Walkers' last catch for the Titans was on a third-and-29 in Denver on Oct. 13, an 18-yard reception over the middle from Ryan Tannehill.

The Titans have a lot of roster re-shaping to do after the season. Finding more guys like Walker should be part of the mission.

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