In a move that I and others expected, Jim Wyatt reported today that the Tennessee Titans brought back defensive end Dave Ball. Wyatt indicated the deal was for only one year at about $1.2 million.
Ball is of course a familiar name, spending the previous four seasons with the Titans after they picked him up off the scrap heap. He’s been somewhere between a heavily-used rotational player and a lightly-used starter, playing primarily but not exclusively right defensive end. With the Titans, he’s picked up 15.5 sacks and 23 starts while playing in 51 games. At the reported money and given the presence of Kam Wimbley and Derrick Morgan, I wouldn’t expect Ball to end up starting more than a couple games at most, but he should otherwise fill much the same role we’ve seen.
In terms of what this means for the draft, 31-year old players who sign a one-year deal don’t mean very much. If there’s a defensive end the Titans like when the 20th pick rolls around, they’ll draft him. Ditto in the second, third, fourth, and any other round you care to name. But they don’t need to, and Ball just gives them a known quantity to have around either way.