We resume our series on free agency and now turn our attention to the interior line. Despite Mike Munchak’s statement, “there’s no reason we can’t win a Super Bowl with that offensive line” I consider that claim dubious, as I wrote about when looking at interior line draft prospects.
I’m sure that both Munch and GM Mike Reinfeldt would love to upgrade any position, including those on the line, wherever possible, and there are some possibilities.
The price for the first two guys on the following list is too steep. I mention them here because they could affect the market and the potential availability of others. Titans fans should not expect to see either of them in two-tone blue this year. Ages for all players are what they will be this season. Click “read more” for my take on these players after the jump.
G Carl Nicks, New Orleans Saints, age 25
The cream of the crop, Nicks should remain restricted as a three-year player. He’s tendered at a first-round level and as good as he is, I don’t see the Titans giving up a first-round pick for him, especially when that pick could very likely be a top ten selection next year.
G Davin Joseph, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, age 27
Rick Stroud of the St. Petersburg Times reported the Bucs have tendered Joseph at a first- and third-round level. Ouch. The Bucs seem to have locked him up since nobody will give that much for him.
The following guys are more realistic possibilities.
G Harvey Dahl, age 30, and G Justin Blalock, age 27, Atlanta Falcons
Atlanta has a pretty good o-line. One testimony to the quality of the Falcons guards is reserve RB Jason Snelling, who has stepped in to deliver quality performances when replacing starter Michael Turner. The Falcons haven’t missed much with Snelling running behind RG Dahl and LG Blalock. Dahl is the better player, though Blalock is younger. I’d love to see Dahl in two-tone blue. Dahl, Blalock and RT Tyson Clabo will all be free agents and it may be hard for the Falcons to keep all three. Dahl is a six-year veteran and should be unrestricted. Blalock is a four-year vet and may remain restricted.
G Daryn Colledge, Green Bay Packers, age 29
A five-year starter (76 starts) for the Pack, he’s been a constant figure at LG but has been overshadowed on the line by Chad Clifton, Scott Wells and Josh Sitton. He’s not the biggest guy, at only 300 pounds, but he has been effective. Green Bay has tendered Colledge at a second-round level, which is more than what he’s worth. If he becomes unrestricted, however, he could be a guy the Titans would be interested in signing.
G/T Marshal Yanda, Baltimore Ravens, age 26
Guard may be his natural position, but he filled in effectively at right tackle for the Ratbirds last year, where he also played in 2007. Yanda started 14 games at right guard from 2008-2009. His versatility may be his biggest asset, which may make him more valuable to some team other than the Titans. Coach John Harbaugh has expressed interest in re-signing the four-year veteran.
G Deuce Lutui and C Lyle Sendlein, Arizona Cardinals, both age 27
Arguably the best two players on the Cardinals line. Lutui is a massive (340 lbs) blocker. I’d like to see the Titans run behind him in short-yardage situations. Sendlein is the only center I’ve included on this list. While it’s somewhat unlikely the Titans will pursue a top guard in free agency, it’s even less likely they’ll go after a center, but Sendlein seems to be the best who will be available and may be relatively cheap. Sendlein is a four-year player and Lutui has played for five seasons.
G Leroy Harris, Tennessee Titans, age 27
The most likely interior lineman to sign with the Titans is Harris, the incumbent LG. He had an extremely disappointing season last year and didn’t do anything to make any other teams covet him. The Titans won’t have to outbid anyone to get him and he should be relatively inexpensive, which brings to mind the saying, “you get what you pay for.” Munchak has declared faith in him, however, so he may have more upside than I give him credit for.
It seems to me, though, that much of Munchak’s support for him, as well as his other linemen, is merely what you’d expect a coach to say about his players. He’s got their backs, even though it isn’t deserved in some cases. If Reinfeldt really thought that highly of Harris, I imagine he would have proffered a contract extension five months ago.