Former Rebel fan favorite Dexter McCluster got the axe from the Titans on Friday afternoon, ending a two year run in which Tennessee struggled to find ways to utilized his unique skill set. Titans head coach Mike Mularkey called the somewhat unexpected decision “a tough call.”
In fairness, it does sound like Mularkey genuinely wanted to get Dex more involved.
“I still believe [he’s a gamebreaker],” Mularkey told ESPN three weeks ago. “He’s a guy that has the ability to score when the ball is in his hands. I just watched the Carolina game. Our longest run of the year was him for a (44-yard) touchdown. I think maybe some of the things we are going to do differently will help him do that. Putting him in better situations with our scheme.”
Dex originally signed with Tennessee on a three-year, $12 million deal in 2014 after spending the previous four seasons in Kansas City. Last season’s 260 receiving yards and 247 rushing yards were actually an improvement from 2015, but he was nevertheless underutilized in Mike Mularky’s power-run system.
Second-round pick and former Bama running back Derrick Henry has already jacked Dex’s jersey number.
RB @KingHenry_2 will wear No. 22.— Tennessee Titans (@Titans) September 2, 2016
More number changes coming soon. pic.twitter.com/q6CHghDQEm
The good news is that McCluster is now free to sign a team with an offensive scheme more in line with his skill set. Because he’s been in the league long enough to be considered a “vested veteran”, Dex skips right past the waiver wire and is immediately eligible to sign as a free agent with whatever team he chooses.
It wasn’t long ago that the Titans were becoming Ole Miss fans’ favorite NFL team. Not so much anymore: over the last 21 months, Tennessee’s cut Michael Oher, Cody Prewitt and Dex and passed on Laremy Tunsil during the draft.