Titans Legend Chris Johnson sent a message to Ran Carthon

Titans general manager Ran Carthon needs to prioritize safety now that Tyler Boyd has signed.

Now that Tyler Boyd is officially signed, the Tennessee Titans need to focus on the safety position.
On Tuesday, the Tennessee Titans signed wide receiver Tyler Boyd, marking a major step toward 2024 better. The team may have its strongest receiving trio since the run-and-shoot days of the early 1990s, when Haywood Jeffires, Drew Hill, and Ernest Givins were all approaching or surpassing 1,000 yards, in matching Boyd with Calvin Ridley and DeAndre Hopkins. Signing Boyd, most importantly, is a clear indication that the team still has faith in Will Levis to be the team’s quarterback.

This offseason, general manager Ran Carthon has done a fantastic job enhancing the roster. Most of his to-do list is almost finished. After Boyd’s arrival, Carthon will now need to focus on safety as veteran free agency picks continue to increase after the 2024 NFL Draft.

Carthon recently stated that he will “delay” his next trip in order to continue working on free agency. Days later, the Boyd signing arrived. Additionally, Carthon has expressed his desire to keep researching the veteran safety industry.

It’s simple to see why. The biggest weakness on the roster was at safety even before Boyd signed. Before being traded in the middle of the season, Kevin Byard spent 389 defensive snaps with the Titans last season. After Byard left, K’Von Wallace and Terrell Edmunds, two in-season replacements, combined to play about 600 snaps. They are no longer both members of the Titans.

Last season, Elijah Molden switched from cornerback to safety, but his best role was that of a rotating, subpackage defender. With 701 snaps, Molden is the second-most “safety” on the Titans roster, only surpassed by Amani Hooker (868). Molden’s duty was primarily at free safety (274) and close to the line of scrimmage as an in-the-box safety (222), according to Pro Football Focus. The adaptable Molden furthermore played 198 snaps as a nickel corner, his previous primary position.

Molden isn’t a failsafe option. Nor ought to be assigned to fill that position opposite the occasionally injured Hooker (Molden was also prone to injuries during 2022). With James Williams, a seventh-round pick, moving to linebacker, the Titans did not select a safety. The two safeties on the roster are practice squad regular Shyheim Carter and special teams player Matthew Jackson.

I can tell with confidence that this is not how the Titans will start the 2024 season. Carthon will soon acquire a veteran difference-maker at safety, with defensive end Marlon Davidson qualifying as a recent addition that further addresses the defensive line. There are still a few candidates that the Titans have expressed interest in in the past.

Former Denver Broncos safety Justin Simmons should top Carthon’s wishlist. The Titans were linked with Simmons when free agency opened, but Tennessee ultimately decided to begin allocating their budget elsewhere. The Titans should reignite talks with Simmons, who totaled 70 tackles, eight pass breakups, and three interceptions last season. The other front-running option is Marcus Maye. The Titans previously hosted Maye on an in-person visit in March. There’s a notable connection between Maye and the Titans, with new defensive coordinator Dennard Wilson having coached Maye with the New York Jets.

Jamal Adams, Quandre Diggs, and Eddie Jackson are a few more veteran choices. Although there are still many valuable players in the safety market, Tennessee should prioritize Simmons and Maye above all others. All that remains to be seen is which seasoned safety will line up opposite Hooker in 2024, capping a defensive backfield makeover that also includes the acquisitions of cornerbacks L’Jarius Sneed and Chido Awuzie.

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