Big Al isn’t the only one who might become an unrestricted free agent, however. Following is a list of guys who will be UFAs in March if they’re not re-signed by the Titans, along with a few of my thoughts on them.
Kerry Collins – We’ve got to re-sign this guy. The good thing is it won’t cost too much, although you do have to pay him money worthy of a starting NFL quarterback. I’m thinking about $3 or 4 million per year for two years with a club option for a third year. Is he good for one or two more years? Heck, yes. He hasn’t peed his last drop yet, as the old saying goes.
Rob Bironas — His stock has actually gone down a little bit but he’s still very much of a keeper. Rob’s 2009 season wasn’t as good as his 2008 one, but he’s still a pretty reliable kicker, one of the best in the league, and he’s worth re-signing.
Bo Scaife — Bo was the Titans’ leading receiver last year. Another keeper and he shouldn’t be all that expensive. We’re not talking about Tony Gonzalez, Antonio Gates, Dallas Clark, Jeremy Shockey or Jason Witten money here. I kind of like the way Bo has progressed. He wasn’t drafted until the sixth round, which was due more to his injury history than his talent and skill sets. Also, when he came into the league, he was much more of a H-back type than a traditional tight end. Since then, he’s improved his strength and blocking ability and is now able to be more effective as an inline blocker, something I used to not give him enough credit for.
Vince Fuller — He’s pretty much got the nickel spot locked down and he can also play either free or strong safety if necessary. He’s another guy who won’t break the bank. Looks like an easy signup. Another keeper.
Chris Carr — He turned the Titans’ return game from worst to first. I also like the way he plays corner, although he’s not as skilled as some other guys. A great guy to have as your returner, even if he’s not a threat to break one every time. With his ability to play both corner and safety, he’s also a good guy for depth in the secondary. Another inexpensive signup, a no-brainer.
Craig Hentrich – He’s getting old but still does a decent job. What I think is overlooked too often is his ability as a holder. He does a heck of a good job on getting bad snaps down and set, which translates into more points on the scoreboard. It seems like some of his holds have kept Tennessee in games at crucial situations. The major question about him, though, is his back. Will he retire or try to continue his career?
Daniel Loper – Can play every position on the o-line except for center, and I believe it’s critical to have him as an insurance policy, just in case Michael Roos gets injured. Left tackle is the third most important position on a team, and the Titans simply can’t afford to lose Loper, since we don’t really know what we have in Mike Otto. Well, I’m sure Mike Munchak has a pretty good idea but Otto doesn’t have any game experience.
Justin McCareins – He’s not the best receiver in the world, not even the best ball catcher in the Titans receiving corps, but he is the best blocking WR the Titans have. If you’ve got a run-oriented offense, as the Titans do, you want your best blockers on the field at every position.
Brandon Jones – Might as well re-sign him. BJ is one of those guys that just frustrate you, though, with his inconsistency. Sometimes I see him display fantastic ability; then he’ll disappear for a few games and you want to grab his facemask, jerk his head around to get his attention, and ask him, “What in the heck is your problem?”
Eric King – He’s one of my favorite Titan players, for his work on the coverage units. He’s also filled in well at corner when called upon. It seems like another no-brainer to keep him around.
Of course, these aren’t the only players whose contracts will expire in a few weeks. There are a few others, guys whom I consider to be easily replaceable. If Mike Reinfeldt wants to offer a tender to any of them, I don’t have any problem with that. If any of them earn a roster spot in training camp, fine. If not, then a better man beat him out.