The Titans are busy in first 24 hours of free agency

The first 24 hours of free agency have certainly been busy for the Tennessee Titans.  While they haven’t signed any free agents yet, other than re-signing a few of their own, they’ve been addressing positions of need with some high profile names.  Though he wouldn’t fill a position of need, the Titans are also hosting QB Peyton Manning, who’s visiting the Titans facilities as I write this.

It’s an attitude we haven’t seen from the organization since they signed free agents Chris Hope, Kevin Mawae, David Thornton, David Givens and Kerry Collins in 2006.  There’s one major difference – the names are bigger this time.  Mainly the Peyton Manning name, but some others as well.

Pro Bowlers G Steve Hutchinson and C Scott Wells have also visited, and Pro Bowl C Chris Myers is scheduled to visit tomorrow.  Pro Bowl DE John Abraham will reportedly make Tennessee his first visit.

The name that I wish was on the list of those who are visiting is Mario Williams.  He’s been in Buffalo since last night and flew his fiancee to Buffalo today.  Sounds like the Bills are very serious contenders about to sign him.  I sure hope the early focus on Peyton didn’t damage the Titans’ chances of getting Super Mario.

Here’s a rundown by position of recent events concerning players at the Titans’ positions of need (see also our free agency tracker, which I have been updating regularly, for a brief synopsis.)

Defensive end:
Mario Williams – Probably will be a Bill.  The Bears, Seahawks, Patriots, Jaguars and Titans are also very interested.  So are the Texans but it doesn’t appear they can match the money that the other teams will offer him.
Jeremy Mincey – Re-signing with the Jaguars.
Dwight Freeney – The Colts have signed Cory Redding, which could make Freeney’s departure easier.  Or not, depending on your point of view.
John Abraham – PFT reported that he hasn’t been able to visit Tennessee yet due to the focus on Manning.

Guard:
Carl Nicks – Agreed to terms with Tampa Bay, making him the highest paid C in the league.
Ben Grubbs – Visiting with the Saints as possible replacement for Nicks.
Evan Mathis – To visit Ratbirds, as possible replacement for Grubbs.  Musical chairs here.  Despite some speculation that he’d be a good fit in Tennessee, there’s no indication yet the Titans are interested in him.
Steve Hutchinson – No interest from teams other than Tennessee known at this time.

Center:
Scott Wells – Visiting with Titans today.
Chris Myers – Talked already with Titans, will visit tomorrow.  The Texans will have the money to afford Myers if they can’t re-sign Mario, which they probably won’t.  Green Bay is also very interested in Myers as a replacement for Wells.

Safety:
No longer a position of immediate need, though depth remains a problem, as well as having a potential replacement for Michael Griffin on the roster.

Fullback:
Lawrence Vickers – Signed with the Cowboys.

Defensive Tackle:
Red Bryant – Re-signing with Seattle.  I’m not sure if he would have been a great fit anyway.
Brodrick Bunkley – The Broncos are reportedly close to signing Paul Soliai, not Bunkley.  Edit: Soliai re-signed with Miami.  Bunkley had a good season last year, but was a disappointment in Philadelphia.

Several guys we’ve been talking about in free agency are in that same boat – guys who are not necessarily one-year wonders, but who overperformed last year as compared to prior years – Mincey, Avril, Mathis, Nelson, Lowery and Bunkley.

I’m not real high on some of the guys the Titans are interested in, but I do like the fact that they’re addressing some problem areas.  A best case scenario for the Titans would be to sign a defensive end, center and guard in free agency.  It would then put the Titans in a position where if they wanted to draft for need in the first round, there would be some very good DT prospects available at #20.

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