On Wednesday, Tennessee Titans safety Johnathan Cyprien tore his ACL, putting him out for the season. Now, the team must replace him.
First-year Titans head coach Mike Vrabel stepped to the microphone on Thursday and told the media that safety Jonathan Cyprien tore his ACL and will miss the entire 2018 season, putting a damper on optimism around Nashville.
In the middle of Wednesday’s practice, Cyprien went down with the injury while attempting to rush off the edge. He remained on the ground holding his left knee, until eventually getting up and making his way back to the locker room.
The sixth-year safety was entering his second season with the Titans. Cyprien signed a four-year, $25 million deal with Tennessee in 2017, after playing his first four seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Last season, Cyprien suffered a hamstring injury during the team’s Week 1 loss against the Oakland Raiders. He played and started in 10 games, recording 65 tackles and one sack.
Tennessee’s safety depth was already thin with Cyprien healthy, but now with him out, it is very likely the team will try to add a veteran free agent. The Titans are and should be interested in bringing in Kenny Vaccaro or Eric Reid. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported Vaccaro will be visiting the Titans tomorrow.
Vaccaro was drafted by the New Orleans Saints in 2014 and played a key role in their defense since day one. In five seasons, he has compiled 385 combined tackles, eight interceptions, 7.5 sacks and four forced fumbles.
Last season, Vaccaro had a career-high three interceptions despite only playing 12 games. Vaccaro had surgery in December to repair groin and core muscles, but claims he is healthy.
Vaccaro is extremely versatile and has the skill-set to play a hybrid role. He has experience playing safety, free safety and corner. According to Pro Football Focus, Vaccaro recorded 364 snaps in the slot, second-most by a safety in 2017. His ability to get to the line and scrimmage and stuff the run is one of his strengths.
Based on recent contracts signed by other safeties that were drafted in 2013, Vaccaro’s market value ranges between $6-8 million per year.
If things don’t work out for Vaccaro and the Titans, Reid is a great back-up plan.
The former 2013 first-round draft pick has compiled 318 tackles, defended 34 passes and recorded 10 interceptions, throughout his NFL career. Similar to Vaccaro, Reid is extremely versatile and would be able to help the secondary and also drop in as a linebacker.
Last season, Pro Football Focus ranked Reid as the 43rd-best safety in the league, which was ranked better than Cyprien. According to Spotrac, Reid’s calculated market value is $8.6M per year.
There is no doubt Reid is talented enough to be on an NFL roster, but the likely reason he remains unsigned is because of his involvement in protests of racial inequality. Earlier this offseason, Reid filed a grievance against the league, alleging he remains unsigned as a result of collusion by the owners. Reid and former teammate Colin Kaepernick were the first players to take a knee during the national anthem at the start of the 2016 season.
The Titans, like many teams, may fear the backlash they would receive if they added Reid. Regardless of Reid’s involvement in protests or the attention Tennessee would receive, the Titans should be focused on improving the product on the field.
Adding a player with Vaccaro’s or Reid’s caliber would help alleviate the loss of Cyprien and keep the Titans in playoff contention.