Titans re-sign DT Antonio Johnson

According to Jim Wyatt, the Titans on Tuesday re-signed defensive tackle Antonio Johnson. Per Wyatt, it's a two-year deal. The team has not yet confirmed the signing.

Johnson was the Titans' clear fourth defensive tackle in 2013. In the DT positional analysis, I noted my lack of any particular affection for Johnson. He was at times a useful player in his primarily run-stuffing role, while at other times he was just a big but not particularly effective player. Considering the reviews of his 3-4 experience with the Colts were much more negative than positive, I had no expectations the Titans would bring him back. That went doubly once they brought in Al Woods last year. I guess Ruston Webster and/or Ray Horton saw something in him they liked.

The big question I have with this signing is what it means for the defensive line mix. I thought the position grouping was getting a bet crowded when they signed Woods after re-signing Ropati Pitoitua. Now that they've given contracts to three players this offseason, I'm assuming those three will be in the rotation. Jurrell Casey will be as well; I'm pretty sure we can take that as a given. The Titans also have under contract at defensive lineman Lavar Edwards, Sammie Lee Hill, Karl Klug, and Mike Martin, plus Kamerion Wimbley and Derrick Morgan. Horton's Browns normally dressed 6, though with DL5 and DL6 (and in Arizona DL4 and sometimes even DL3) playing no more than 15 snaps. That's 10 potential names, with 4-5 getting snaps and probably 7 with a job.

I've been assuming throughout that Wimbley is an OLB in Horton's defense, so you can probably take him out of the DL rotation. Morgan in my mind is a player who could go either way-he was a "tweener" 4-3 DE/3-4 OLB when he came out, but I've never loved him as a speed rusher and have thought of him as more likely a defensive lineman for Horton. That the Titans keep adding defensive linemen, plus their lack of apparent interest in 3-4 OLB once LaMarr Woodley went off the market, though, is Bayesian evidence that Morgan is a 3-4 OLB. That leaves 8 DL-Casey, Mookie, Woods, Pitoitua, Edwards, Hill, Klug, and Martin, competing for what's likely to be 7 spots, a more reasonable estimate considering all those guys have NFL experience. Of course, I'm not sure any of them other than Casey is actually any good, which is why I kept wanting to stick Morgan at DL, but that's a somewhat different problem.

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