Inside the Titans' Trade for L'Jarius Sneed

Inside the Titans' Trade for L'Jarius Sneed

ORLANDO – When the Titans first checked in with the Chiefs about L’Jarius Sneed and got permission to talk to the cornerback about a contract things were too expensive on multiple levels.

Kansas City wanted too much in trade compensation and Sneed wanted too much in a contract.

“Patience is a virtue,” said Chad Brinker, president of football operations. “Particularly in our sport sometimes, people don’t want to be patient, they want to hurry up and jump out, and take care of business -- and sometimes you have to do that. 

Dec 11, 2022; Denver, Colorado, USA; Kansas City Chiefs cornerback L'Jarius Sneed (38) celebrates his interception with cornerback Joshua Williams (23) and safety Justin Reid (20) n the fourth quarter against the Denver Broncos at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
L'Jarius Snead/ © Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

“In this case, I think we put together a pretty good plan and strategy heading into free agency. And when that opportunity came upon us, obviously we evaluated it, we met as a staff, we brought coaches in the room, we watched the tape, we wanted to make sure everyone was on the same page, just kind of confirming some things. And then we just felt like where we were in the process we just weren’t ready to make that move at that moment.”

Write comment (4 Comments)
After 93 Percent Derrick Henry, Mystery and Niches to Come with New Titans' RB Combo

After 93 Percent Derrick Henry, Mystery and Niches to Come with New Titans' RB Combo

ORLANDO – Once the Titans jumped to sign Tony Pollard as a free agent, the Titans had a pair of pretty similar running backs.

Pollard’s averaged 4.8 yards a carry in five seasons while Tyjae Spears got 4.5 as a rookie. Both are modern backs, capable pass catchers and pass blockers.

Nov 23, 2023; Arlington, Texas, USA; Dallas Cowboys running back Tony Pollard (20) and Washington Commanders defensive end Casey Toohill (95) in action during the game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Washington Commanders at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Tony Pollard/ © Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

“Obviously, you pair up Tony Pollard and Tyjae Spears together, it’s a pretty formidable one-two punch,” Brian Callahan said at the NFL annual meeting. “Two guys who can both score touchdowns, have got some explosiveness and make-you-miss in their game and can catch the ball out of the backfield and can protect. So we have two guys that are sort of interchangeable. Both with a little bit different skill sets that really add something unique to the offense.”

But something has to divide the two backs in terms of snap and carry distribution at some point, doesn’t it?

Write comment (1 Comment)
Titans’ DeAndre Hopkins on Calvin Ridley: ‘He Wants to Be Great And He’s Going to Be Great’

Titans’ DeAndre Hopkins on Calvin Ridley: ‘He Wants to Be Great And He’s Going to Be Great’

DeAndre HopkinsORLANDO – A beaming DeAndre Hopkins said he’s enthusiastic about the direction the Titans are heading and he’s eager to work with Calvin Ridley and against L’Jarius Sneed. 

Hopkins was here at the NFL annual meeting to help promote the league’s flag football initiatives and said he hopes to extend his big flag football program from Arizona to Nashville and his home in South Carolina.

We have not heard from him since the end of a bad season that culminated with the firing of Mike Vrabel and the hiring of Brian Callahan.

He expressed fondness for Vrabel, saying the two were “buddies” off the field starting when they worked together with the Texans. He still expects to hear from him after a bad game as he did following his trade from Houston to the Cardinals.

“Very excited to get going under Brian and his offense and his schemes,” Hopkins said. “Obviously I’ve talked to J’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins and those guys told me that I would love this offense., I think the sky’s the limit especially after getting a guy like Calvin, so I am very excited for this offense.”

Write comment (1 Comment)
Brian Callahan Eager to See 'More Robust' Titans' Strength Program in Action

Brian Callahan Eager to See 'More Robust' Titans' Strength Program in Action

ORLANDO – Brian Callahan left the Titans strength and conditioning department to last as he put his staff together so he could give it his full focus.

Ultimately, once Frank Piraino left for the New York Giants, Callahan hired Zac Woodfin as director of sports performance along with Mark Lovat and Grant Thorne as assistant strength and conditioning coaches, and John Shaw as assistant sports performance/ speed training coach. 

Zac Woodfin
Zac Woodfin rallies players at Missouri/ Courtesy Mizzou Athletics

Additionally, the team kept Brian Bell, an assistant director of sports performance, and Haley Roberts, a sports performance assistant, from Piraino’s staff.

That doubles the size of the previous strength department.

Will it have a bearing on health for the Titans, who have been devastated by injuries for three years running, using at least 83 players?

Write comment (3 Comments)
Titans' Brian Callahan on Right Tackle, Inside Linebacker, Safety and Edge

Titans' Brian Callahan on Right Tackle, Inside Linebacker, Safety and Edge

ORLANDO – Brian Callahan is pleased with the Titans’ free-agency haul that has brought them nine new players – including front liners Calvin Ridley, Lloyd Cushenberry and, via trade, L’Jarius Sneed -- and brought back five others.

But at the NFL’s annual meeting Monday morning he also spoke about holes still left to fill on a roster he inherited missing a lot.

He discussed right tackle, inside linebacker, safety and edge as spots where the Titans still need more.

Right tackle: Last season the Titans started out with Chris Hubbard at right tackle, where they wound up with a start from Nicholas Petit-Frere and seven from Dillon Radunz after Hubbard suffered a serious biceps injury.

I asked Callahan if the team’s right tackle is on the roster at this point.

Write comment (0 Comments)

With L'Jarius Sneed, Titans May Have Best CB Trio of Tennessee Era

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- A team lacking star power adds a big one with the trade acquisition of L'Jarius Sneed from Kansas City per Friday night's report from Adam Schefter. I've since confirmed the deal is in place.

The Titans will pair Sneed with Chidobe Awuzie with Roger McCreary as the nickel back, and that might provide the team as good a trio of cornerbacks as it has had in its Nashville history.

They have a chance to unseat Samari Rolle, Denard Walker and Steve Jackson (now Titans' safeties coach) in 1998-99 who I'd currently rate as the best trio of corners. Also in contention: Cortland Finnegan, Jason McCourty and Alterraun Verner in 2010-11.

Nov 20, 2023; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Chiefs cornerback L'Jarius Sneed (38) is tackled after intercepting a pass intended for Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver A.J. Brown (11) during the first half at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports
L'Jarius Sneed fights off A.J. Brown after an interception / © Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

The Chiefs franchised tagged Sneed guaranteeing him $19.8 million for 2024. He was permitted to seek a trade and get a contract in place and was reported seeking a deal that would make him the NFL's highest-paid corner.

Write comment (7 Comments)

Specific Qualities the Titans Want in Draftees by Position


The last two drafts, I have taken my love for historical data and trends from contracts and applied them to the draft. Specifically, what does a team look for in a prospect at a certain position group. A team may say they want one thing: “Fast players” for example but draft guys who are much slower than their peers.

Two years ago, I started with looking at strictly the physical and athletic measurables of what Jon Robinson had traditionally drafted. Treylon Burks was the guy most likely to be drafted by the Titans and it turns out, that was 100% correct.

Oct 22, 2022; Columbia, Missouri, USA; Missouri Tigers defensive back Kris Abrams-Draine (14) breaks up a pass intended for Vanderbilt Commodores wide receiver Will Sheppard (14) during the first half of the game at Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
Missouri CB Kris Abrams-Draine/ © Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Last year, I expanded into bringing in traditional wide receiver stats that have predicted success at the next level and factored in the data of Ran Carthon’s various stops as a personnel guy and what the Titans has done under Mike Vrabel. While the Titans didn’t draft a wide receiver in the first six rounds based on how their board fell, the formula I used, would’ve had Colton Dowell as the seventh-most likely to be a Titan if he had been on my radar before the draft. Unfortunately, I wasn’t even aware of Dowell as a draft prospect, but if I had I would’ve written about him.

While it isn’t a perfect predictor as I either don’t know of all the prospects and/or have all of the data, it does shed light on what the Titans typically value in their prospects in three key areas:

  1. Physical Traits
  2. Athletic Traits
  3. On-The-Field Traits

This year, I have evolved this even further. Thanks to learning more about programming languages, data analysis and football in general, I have been able to apply my refined methodology to other positions of need for the Titans, not just wide receivers. So far, I have been able to collect data for WR, OT, OG, LB, CB and RB. We won’t get too heavily into some of these positions because the Titans' needs have shifted. I will also be adding S, DL and EDGE soon.

Next Thursday, PaulKuharsky.com paid subscribers will follow along the journey to find the most likely draft prospects and what they bring to the team. They’ll also get access to a data tool that they can play along with as well. So, if you want access to all of this information you have to subscribe to PK.com and StackingTheInbox.com, because there will be site-exclusive information for each!

Now, I am going to give a brief rundown of how the aforementioned position groups are scored and what data is being used. I am also going to give you examples of how to use/interpret this data for the various positions. This will require some common sense and nuance on your part, but I have faith you all can handle that.

Write comment (1 Comment)
How Titans' Free Agency Gains May Impact Their Draft Strategy

How Titans' Free Agency Gains May Impact Their Draft Strategy


As of this writing, the Titans have reportedly agreed to terms with eight new free-agent additions and re-signing five other players who were with the team last year. Those 13 signings:

  • QB Mason Rudolph – one year, $2.87 million
  • RB Tony Pollard – three years, $21.75 million
  • RB Julius Chestnut - ERFA tender one year, $985,000
  • WR Calvin Ridley – four years, $92 million
  • WR Nick Westbrook-Ikhine – one year, $2 million
  • C Lloyd Cushenberry – four years, $50 million
  • OG Saahdiq Charles - one year, $2.5 million
  • DL Sebastian Joseph-Day – TBD
  • ILB Kenneth Murray – two years, $15.5 million
  • ILB Jack Gibbens – ERFA tender one year, $985,000
  • CB Chidobe Awuzie – three years, $36 million
  • K Nick Folk – one year, $3.76 million
  • LS Morgan Cox – one year, $1.38 million
Calvin Ridley
Calvin Ridley/ Courtesy Jacksonville Jaguars

I wrote at length about the additions of Pollard, Cushenberry, Awuzie, Murray, and Charles last week – if you missed it, check it out here – but I do want to briefly touch on the Ridley and Rudolph signings that have happened since that piece before I dive into an overall discussion of the state of the roster and how it may impact the Titans strategy in the draft.

Write comment (2 Comments)