Delanie Walker, Ryan Succop released
There were times over the past seven seasons when Delanie Walker flashed seemingly inconceivable speed.
At 6-foot, 248 pounds, he could run past smaller cornerbacks and safeties about as easily as he could run over them. It was a trait that helped make him one of the most productive tight ends of his time.
Ultimately, though, he could not outrun time and injury.
The Tennessee Titans waived the 35-year-old, three-time Pro Bowler on Friday as they continued to prepare for the new league year, which begins Wednesday. In addition to Walker, kicker Ryan Succop also was released. A day earlier, they cut running back Dion Lewis and pass rush specialist Cameron Wake.
In cutting Walker and Succop, the Titans created more than $6 million in additional salary cap space and now have more than $64 million to spend, according to Spotrac.com. Only seven teams have more salary cap space.
“Over the last two days I have had the difficult task of informing a number of our players they are being released,” general manager Jon Robinson said in a release from the team. “These aren’t easy conversations, but I want to thank each of them for the significant contributions they have made to our organization both on and off the field. They each played a part in our success last year in ways big and small.”
Walker joined the Titans in 2013 as a free agent after seven seasons with the San Francisco 49ers and was an immediate revelation. He set career-highs in receptions and receiving yards in each of his first three seasons in Tennessee, and from 2013-17 no tight end in the NFL caught more passes (he had 356). He is the only tight end in franchise history to have at least 800 receiving yards in a season, and he did so four times (2014-17).
With the 49ers, he averaged 17.6 receptions and 209.3 receiving yards per season. With the Titans, he averaged 54.4 receptions and 631.9 receiving yards per season – and those numbers would have been even better if not for an ankle injury that forced him to miss 24 games over the last two seasons.
He finished 2019 on injured reserve. Now he must face the possibility that his career might be finished.
“In my time here with Delanie, he has been an absolute pro on the field, in the locker room, and his production speaks for itself,” Robinsons said. “He was a leader, a captain, and a highly respected member of this team. His toughness, competitiveness, attitude and professionalism are what we expect from our players. I want to wish him all of the best moving forward, and he will forever be a Titan great.”
Succop had a forgettable 2019 season, which started and ended with him on injured reserve. In between, he played six games and missed five of the six field goals he attempted. He was one of four placekickers the team used last season.
Signed at the start of the 2014 regular season after five years with Kansas City, he missed fewer than five field goal tries in four of his first five seasons in Tennessee. The exception was 2017, when he led the NFL with 42 field goal attempts and connected on 35 (83.3 percent). He is the franchise’s fifth all-time leading scorer with 529 points and is send in career field goal accuracy at 83.6 percent (he was first at the start of last season).
“So thankful for the last six seasons here in Tennessee!” he wrote on Twitter. “The Lord has blessed my career and time here in ways I never could have imagined. … My family and I are grateful for the support from Titans fans throughout the years! Y’all are incredible!
“Although this past season was tough personally, I am excited for what the Lord has in store for me and my family and I’m looking forward to coming back strong!”