Why did the Tennessee Titans decide to sign free agent DeAndre Hopkins?
Why did the Tennessee Titans decide to sign free agent DeAndre Hopkins? Here's the answer.
Although the Titans didn't rank among the top AFC teams after a 7-10 season, they were just one win away from clinching their division. Only a few NFL club executives are willing to admit that their teams are going through a rebuilding phase and not competing for anything. Tennessee is not one of those teams.
Before signing Hopkins, the Titans had one of the weakest wide receiver corps in the league. On the flanks, they were supposed to rely on second-year player Treylon Burks and undrafted free agent Nick Westbrook-Akini, while Kyle Phillips, a 5th-round pick, was expected to play in the slot.
WR DeAndre Hopkins had spent a significant portion of his career playing on the flank, but in the last season, he played in the slot on 27.3% of his snaps, and it's not the limit – in his final year with the Houston Texans, he started 37.5% of his snaps from the inside position. It will be interesting to see this percentage with the Titans.
Hopkins' presence on the field will have a domino effect on the team's offense. Thanks to the presence of Derrick Henry, the Titans are known as one of the least passing teams in the league. Now, with the threat of DeAndre on short and intermediate routes (ins, outs, curls), opponents can be expected to drop safeties more often or pull linebackers into coverage. This will make things easier for Burks and Henry, respectively.
The general manager and starting quarterback, whether it's Ryan Tannehill or potentially Will Lewis, will be grateful. Hopkins' ability to win contested catches raises the threshold for risky throws for the quarterback and increases their efficiency.
Therefore, by investing in Hopkins, the Titans are not just acquiring a 31-year-old player, but significantly upgrading their entire offense.