Free agency is officially upon us.
The next several days will be hectic as the Tennessee Titans try to retain their own unrestricted free agents, who will be listening to convincing sales pitches in other NFL cities.
In addition to big names such as Albert Haynesworth and Kerry Collins, unheralded guys like Chris Carr, Brandon Jones and Vince Fuller will also get their share of attention from teams swooping in like vultures in their efforts to prey on Jeff Fisher’s roster.
While the retention of players will be high on Fisher’s/Mike Reinfeldt’s priority list, they will also be making their own pitches to other teams’ prospective free agents as they try to improve their ballclub.
Let’s take a look at several players who, for a variety of reasons, could emerge as potential free agent targets for the Tennessee Titans.
WR: The search for playmakers
Whether it’s via free agency or the draft, we all expect the Titans to upgrade their talent at the much-maligned wide receiver position.
T.J. Houshmandzadeh is perhaps the best WR available, but considering the Titans’ frugal ways, I’m not sure if they’ll be willing to pay big dollars to bring him to Nashville.
Surprise cut Laveranues Coles could be an intriguing option. At age 31, he’s no spring chicken, but he is far from being washed up. A gritty player who has often displayed a knack for making tough catches in traffic during his career, Coles would be a nice addition for a cheaper price than what it would take to grab Housh.
Another reason the Titans could go after Coles: Mike Heimerdinger was LC’s offensive coordinator in 2005 with the New York Jets.
Nate Washington and Devery Henderson are two younger guys who are known for their inconsistent ways in addition to their ability to catch the deep ball. Their both very athletic players but neither of them have come close to surpassing the 1,000 yard mark during their somewhat brief careers.
If I were in Mike Reinfeldt’s shoes, I’d pass on paying big dollars to unproven albeit talented players such as Nate and Devery. Let someone else overspend for them.
DT: Replacing Albert?
If Fat Albert departs, there will a big hole (pun intended) on the Titans’ defensive line. Here are a few guys who could emerge as potential free agent replacements if Big Al leaves the building:
Green Bay’s Colin Cole is a 330 pounder who, according to Clark Judge, could be a free-agent bargain. With the lack of size of Jason Jones and Tony Brown, a huge run-stuffer such as Cole would be a solid low-cost replacement for Albert.
As we discussed a couple of days ago, the Redskins could end up as the winner of the Haynesworth sweepstakes. If that occurs, they would unlikely be able to retain the services of young DT Anthony Montgomery.
Montie is huge (6’5″ 312 lbs.) and as a restricted free agent who was offered the smallest tender, he could be available in exchange for a low draft pick.
CB: Replacing the depth guys
With a whopping 5 of their remaining 12 unrestricted free agents playing the corner position, depending on what occurs over the next few days, the Titans may be in the hunt for some new talent at the position.
Arizona’s Eric Green is an intriguing talent who went from being a starter to the doghouse in 2008. He’s a physical guy with good size (5’11) who may only need a change of scenery to thrive once again.
T: Some potential insurance
As a result of the presence of bookends Michael Roos and David Stewart, the Titans are well-set at the starting tackle positions. However, if versatile backup Daniel Loper departs, securing the services of a veteran backup could be on the Titans’ free agency shopping list.
A second-round pick in 2005, Minnesota’s Marcus Johnson may be an option. At 6’6″ 321 pounds, Johnson hasn’t lived up to his potential but I’m confident that all-world offensive line coach Mike Munchak could transform this big underachiever into a contributor.
Question for the audience: Who is on your Tennessee Titan free agency grocery list?