Middle linebacker is a position for the Titans where the future is uncertain. Three-year starter Stephen Tulloch will be a free agent. Fourth-round draft pick Colin McCarthy could develop into a starter, but doesn’t look like someone who’s ready to start as a rookie.
Here’s a look at some potential free agent acquisitions, after the jump.
Paul Posluszny, Buffalo Bills, age 26
The star of the Bills defense, he’s played in both 4-3 and 3-4 defenses. Posluszny, once a second-round draft pick and 34th overall, was tendered by the Bills, level unknown. As much as the Bills need him, I’m surprised they didn’t franchise him. Perhaps they believe he’ll be a restricted, and not unrestricted, free agent. I’d love to see Poz in two-tone blue.
Barrett Ruud, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, age 27
A six-year veteran, Ruud finally emerged from the shadow of the great Derrick Brooks. Has played in the Tampa-2 scheme, so he should be good in coverage. It looks like the Bucs have already drafted Ruud’s replacement, third-rounder Mason Foster, and will let Ruud test the free agent market.
Stewart Bradley, Philadelphia Eagles, age 27
Will Witherspoon was released by the Eagles last year partly due to financial reasons and also because the Eagles had a promising group of young linebackers, including Bradley. At 254 pounds, he has the size the Titans say they are looking for and can play both inside and outside. Bradley, a four-year veteran, missed the 2009 season with a torn ACL and was limited in 2010 with a concussion and elbow injury.
Kevin Burnett, San Diego Chargers, age 28
The former Cowboys backup became a starter in San Diego and had 95 tackles, six sacks and two interceptions last year. Burnett is a six-year veteran and should be an UFA.
Kirk Morrison, Jacksonville Jaguars, age 29
The former Raider, who averaged 100 tackles a year in Oakland, had a bit of a decline in Jacksonville but could still be a tackling machine. Morrison will be an unrestricted free agent.
Stephen Tulloch, Tennessee Titans, age 26
Of course, the Titans new coaching staff could decide they like Tulloch enough that the front office will make him an offer he can’t refuse. While I love Tulloch as a two-down player, I’d rather see someone else, who’s better in pass coverage, as the middle linebacker this season.
One thing I noticed about these guys is they’re all about 240 pounds, except for Bradley, who’s listed at 254. Do you believe the Titans when they say they want to get bigger at linebacker? If so, Bradley could be the guy they target. On the other hand, I haven’t heard any of the Titans’ brass or coaches say which linebacker position(s) they want to get bigger at and they’ve already gotten bigger at Sam with the addition of 254-pound Akeem Ayers. Maybe they’ll stay with a 240-pounder in the middle.