David Givens: Another high-profile free agent WR gone bad

Yesterday provided news that served as a painful reminder of the Titans’ bad luck with signing high-profile free agent wide receivers. David Givens, the proud owner of a lucrative contract extended to him in 2006, underwent yet another surgery on his left knee and his status for next season (as well as the remainder of his career) is in jeopardy.
The signing of Givens in 2006 was supposed to be the team’s latest attempt to secure the services of a #1 wide receiver. Givens emerged as a go-to guy in New England while catching passes for Tom Brady. He was a player who came into the league as an unheralded seventh round draft selection but worked his way into being a top receiver on New England’s championship teams in 2003 and 2004. Unfortunately, as a result of numerous knee injuries, Givens’ Titan career only consists of eight catches.
Now where have we heard this story before? Tennessee Titan fans are well aware of the dangers associated with navigating the waters of free agency when it comes to the wide receiver position. The mere mentioning of the names Yancey Thigpen and Carl Pickens continues to be a source of distress for Titans’ fans.

The signing of Yancey Thigpen in 1998 was supposed to signal the arrival of a number one wide receiver to Nashville. Coming off of an impressive 1997 season where he caught 79 passes for 1,398 yards and 7 touchdowns, Thigpen was destined to be the go to receiver for an up and coming Tennessee offense led by a young gunslinger named Steve McNair.
Thigpen’s career in Tennessee never got on track as a result of injuries that consistently kept him out of the lineup. In only three seasons with the Oilers/Titans, Thigpen was a regular in the training room, missing a whopping 17 games.
In 2000, Carl Pickens followed in the injured footsteps of Thigpen and became the next high profile wide receiver to fail with the Titans. A two-time Pro Bowler, Pickens was billed as the final piece of the puzzle at the wide receiver position. Pickens, albeit briefly, did display some of his explosive potential, averaging over 24 yards per catch in his first season with Tennessee. Unfortunately, he caught only 10 passes for 242 yards in what ended up being his only season as a Titan. A hamstring injury cut Pickens’ season and the remainder of his career short.
As free agency looms, the Titans are again in need of an upgrade or two at the wide receiver position. With plenty of cap room to spare, the team is in a position to throw some decent coin at a wide out who can be a difference maker on a struggling offense.
The ghosts of Yancey Thigpen, Carl Pickens and David Givens will weigh heavily on the collective minds of Titan nation as the team looks to add a playmaker to the offense.
Hopefully, history won’t repeat itself.

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