The holes on the Titans’ depth chart heading to free agency

Just to provide a sort of perspective to the offseason overview, I took a look at the final regular season unofficial depth chart and noted which players were not under contract in 2012.

Holes Filled Since the End of the Regular Season
WR1-2: There are two starting WR slots, which are semi-arbitratily designated WR1 and WR2. Lavelle Hawkins was re-signed to fill this spot.
LT-2/RT-2: Mike Otto was listed as the primary backup at both left tackle and right tackle, and was re-signed. Byron Stingily was listed as the third-string player at both positions.
FS-1: Michael Griffin was hit with the franchise tag.

Remaining Holes
RG-1: Jake Scott is heading to free agency. Jake Scott will not be the Titans’ starting right guard in 2012. Philosophically, it would strike me as a big departure for the Titans to go after a player like Carl Nicks, but I’ll still put together a post looking at the free agent guards who might be possibilities.
WR2-2: Donnie Avery is an unrestricted free agent. Kenny Britt returns from injured reserve, so he becomes WR2-1 and Damian Williams is the new WR2-2. I do not expect the Titans to add another big-money wide receiver and would not be at all surprised if they don’t take a receiver early in the draft either.
FB-1: Ahmard Hall is an unrestricted free agent. He might be back; I’d prefer a replacement who’s a competent or better blocker (which in my mind rules out Quinn Johnson) who doesn’t fumble the ball.
LDE-2: Officially Dave Ball’s spot on the depth chart. As I indicated in yesterday’s defensive ends post, I think Ball has a shot to return.
RDE-1: Officially Jason Jones. He’s a much more valuable player as a pass-rushing defensive tackle than as a defensive end who can’t rush the passer. Should not and I believe will not return.
RDE-2: Officially William Hayes. I didn’t mention him in yesterday’s post, just because it’s hard for me to look at Hayes’ Titans tenure and find a question to which he is the answer, but it’s not out of the question he could return.
SLB-2: Officially Patrick Bailey, who saw virtually no time on defense. The Titans are apparently potentially interested in bringing him back; do they have enough trust in him to play Sam if Akeem Ayers goes down?
MLB-2: Officially Tim Shaw, who actually saw a little bit of time on defense. Like Bailey, the Titans are apparently potentially interested in bringing him back. The Titans kicked the tires on Lofa Tatupu, and I think there’s a real possibility they sign a cheap veteran MLB in addition to Shaw. Note Barrett Ruud was on IR and thus is not on the depth chart.
SS-1: Jordan Babineaux. The Titans by rule cannot re-sign him until the new league year begins, but reports indicate the two sides have seriously talked and may be close to a new deal.
SS-2: Chris Hope. Thanks for your loyal service; sorry we couldn’t have a better ending. Depending on the dollars and length of Babineaux’s contract, I expect this slot to be filled by a cheap player, likely a draft pick.
FS-2: Was Anthony Smith for most of the year, then Robert Johnson at the end. Johnson of course returns, but how much do they really like him? A long term deal for Griffin is unlikely in my mind, and a draft pick would not surprise me in the least.
RCB-1: Enjoy more money from some other team, Cortland Finnegan. As I wrote in the cornerbacks positional analysis, I don’t expect much in the manner of high-profile additions here.
LS-1: Ken Amato is a free agent. I think there’s a good chance he’ll be back, but you never know.

There are a number of other positions the Titans could choose to address, including particularly center and weakside linebacker, but those are unofficially the holes that need to be filled between free agency and the draft.

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