Welcome back to football, everybody.
Andrew just wrote about whether the Titans would retain any of their own free agents. Back before the draft, I did two posts looking at the state of the Titans’ roster, first on the offense and then on the defense. With free agency coming soon, it’s time to update that to reflect the official list of free agents and add the draft picks to the list.
QB: Jake Locker, Brett Ratliff, Rusty Smith
RB: Herb Donaldson, Jamie Harper, Chris Johnson, Stafon Johnson, Dominique Lindsay, Javon Ringer, Joe Tronzo
TE: Jared Cook, Riar Geer, Craig Stevens
WR: Kenny Britt, Yamon Figurs, Justin Gage, Lavelle Hawkins, Marc Mariani, Nate Washington, Damian Williams
OL: Eugene Amano, Ryan Durand, Jeff Hansen, Jake Ingram, Troy Kropog, Kevin Matthews, Mike Otto (RFA), Michael Roos, Jake Scott, Byron Stingily, David Stewart, Fernando Velasco
DL: Kareem Brown, Tony Brown, Jurrell Casey, Zach Clayton, Hall Davis, Pannel Egboh, Jovan Haye, William Hayes, Marcus Howard, Jason Jones, Karl Klug, Sen’Derrick Marks, Derrick Morgan, Malcolm Sheppard
LB: Akeem Ayers, Patrick Bailey (RFA), Rennie Curran, Kevin Malast, Colin McCarthy, Gerald McRath, Tim Shaw (RFA), Will Witherspoon
CB: Cortland Finnegan, Chris Hawkins, Pete Ittersagen, Jason McCourty, Ryan Mouton, Alterraun Verner
S: Tommie Campbell, Vinny Fuller, Michael Griffin, Chris Hope, Robert Johnson, Myron Rolle, Nick Schommer
ST: Ken Amato, Rob Bironas, Jake Ingram, Brett Kern.
Once again, players listed in italics did not spend any time on 53-man roster during the regular season. Players in bold were starters. The draft picks are all in blue.
Even for an inveterate 53-man roster predictor like me, it’s a little early for a final prediction (the “which free agent will go where” lottery isn’t my favorite thing), but here are more thoughts on each position:
QB: Obviously, the Titans have said they’re bringing in a veteran, and I’ve been on the “Matt Hasselbeck makes a lot of sense” bandwagon since at least early March. There isn’t a lot of depth, and signing with the Titans won’t appeal to every QB-Donovan McNabb has been mentioned, but I think he still thinks of himself as a viable multi-year starter, and that’s not what the Titans want. Trent Edwards is a second-level guy who might be a fit.
RB: Fullback is a need, and I expect them to add a veteran. Retaining Ahmard Hall is an obvious way to fill the position, and the one I expect them to make, but I’d rather look outside. Lawrence Vickers doesn’t have a high profile, but the Browns won’t be retaining him and he’s been a very good lead blocker in the past.
TE: I’d be very surprised if they don’t add somebody here. There aren’t many marquee tight ends available, but there are a number of guys who could be good in a #3-type role.
WR: Justin Gage’s roster spot probably depends on how much trouble Kenny Britt gets into. I could see them adding depth here, but highly doubt they’ll add any marquee players.
OL: One addition here: Mike Otto is a restricted free agent, not unrestricted. With Leroy Harris unrestricted, Jake Scott going into the last year of his deal, and no good replacements clearly on the roster, the Titans need to sign a player. They’ve indicated they’re comfortable with Harris; I’m not.
DL: I’ve combined DE and DT from my previous post, just because I’m not sure where guys like Jones and Klug will play. I’m ready to throw my hands up and wait on the Titans’ strategy with their defensive linemen, because I haven’t understood what their strategy at DT has been for several years and now I don’t understand what their strategy at DL is. It wouldn’t surprise me to see them add a DE, but I don’t know who that would be.
LB: Two additions here, as Bailey and Shaw, like Otto, are restricted free agents. That’s big news from the depth and special teams perspective, but the starters are still up in the air. Would they be willing to run with Ayers, Witherspoon, and McRath, or Ayers, McCarthy, and Witherspoon? It’d be risky, but it wouldn’t surprise me.
CB: Finnegan, McCourty, and Verner is a fine top three, but I’m still not in love with Mouton or Ittersagen as the fourth.
S: I have Tommie Campbell listed here, rather than at corner, just because there’s where I see him. Chris Hope at $6.5 million is too expensive, but there are lots of teams looking for starting-caliber safeties on the free agent market who need to spend money.
ST: No changes to be expected here. Ingram is an extra long-snapper.
Stay tuned, as we’ll have plenty of coverage here at Total Titans now that there’s something to actually talk about.