Free agency has started off with a bang for the Tennessee Titans. On the first day, Albert Haynesworth agreed to terms with the Redskins while Kerry Collins and Vincent Fuller agreed to remain in Tennessee.
Free agency is my favorite part of the offseason. Yes, more than the draft, because a club usually improves itself more in free agency than it does in the draft. That holds true for the Titans at this time.
In prior years, I was more interested in the draft than in free agency, simply because of the Titans’ salary cap situation. They weren’t able to be very active in free agency and could only sign guys who were cheap. If any improvements would be made, they’d probably come through the draft.
Free agency was pretty much a one-way door in those days. The best (and most expensive) players went out the door but no players of that caliber came in.
That changed in the post-Steve McNair era. Once out of cap hell, Tennessee was finally able to fully participate in the free agent market.
In 2006, they signed Chris Hope, David Thornton, Kevin Mawae, Tony Brown and Kerry Collins as free agents.
2007 saw the Titans acquire Justin Gage, Nick Harper and Ryan Fowler.
In 2008, Jake Scott, Jevon Kearse, Chris Carr and Alge Crumpler joined the club.
All of those players made significant contributions to the team, which is exactly what they were signed for. That group of 12 players has collectively accumulated 17 Pro Bowl selections.
On the other hand, only six of the 27 draft picks in those three years have made significant contributions to the Titans. Vince Young, LenDale White, Stephen Tulloch, Cortland Finnegan, Michael Griffin and Chris Johnson have all been starters and have four Pro Bowl selections between them so far.
Comparing the numbers, 12 free agents versus six draftees and 17 Pro Bowls vs four, it’s easy to see that free agency has helped the Titans in the last three years a lot more than the draft has. The Titans have plenty of cap room this year, so I expect that trend to continue.
I view the draft as a crapshoot. Rather than rolling the dice on a rookie, I’d rather have a proven veteran, where you pretty much know what you’re getting. That’s why I like free agency more than the draft.
In the coming weeks, we’ll continue to look at free agency. Of course, we’ll also be looking ahead to the draft, so readers of Total Titans will get the best of both worlds.
Other news: Eric King has reportedly signed with the Lions, making Chris Carr more valuable to the Titans.
What’s your opinion?