Now that most of the best free agents have signed with new teams, as well as some players who aren’t quite as good, it’s time to take a look at who is still available that the Titans might be interested in, other than Peyton Manning.
Mark Anderson, whom I wrote about as a possible addition in my DE positional analysis last month, will be visiting the Titans, according to a John Glennon tweet last night and in this article on Peyton’s workout for the Titans.
Andre Carter – I also mentioned Carter in my DE analysis and Tom wrote about him in his recent article on where the Titans stand in free agency, stating he believes Carter is the only top-tier DE remaining in free agency. Perhaps the Titans are concerned about his health and believe Anderson is a safer (and younger) option.
Dwight Freeney – Not a free agent, but could become one if the Colts release him, which would save them a much needed $14M. It’s possible they could get a mid-round draft pick for him, although they’d obviously prefer not to trade him within the division. The Titans and Jaguars both need help at defensive end.
If you missed it, or simply want to read it again (it’s a good read), check out this article by Tom assessing Anderson, Carter, Freeney and other free agent defensive ends.
Edit: Update, 3-19 – He’s not a true DE, but OLB/DE Kamerion Wimbley is visiting the Titans today (Monday). He’s played as an OLB in both a 3-4 (Browns) and a 4-3 (Raiders). He’s a strong edge rusher, whether standing up or after putting his hand down.
Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported on Friday the Titans were very close to signing Scott Wells and wrote that the Titans would release Eugene Amano, according to a NFL source, if they were able to sign Wells. (That article no longer says they were very close to signing him, so it may have been edited. I would have sworn it did say they were “very close” and Kuharsky wrote, in recapping McGinn’s info, that they were “on the verge.” A Nashville radio station also used the words “very close” in recapping McGinn’s article.)
Alas (that’s not the word I really used when I learned the bad news), it didn’t happen. Now that Wells has signed with the Rams and Chris Myers has re-signed with Houston, the following guys are the best centers still available.
Jeff Saturday – Bait to lure Peyton? The Titans have not inquired about him, tweets Kuharsky. Saturday played fairly well last year but will be 37 this season.
Todd McClure – Not quite as old (35) but ditto on last year. He is underweight, at about 290 pounds, which doesn’t concern me as much as it would for a younger center.
Dan Koppen – Formerly the starting center in New England, he missed nearly all of last season with a broken ankle. He’s probably no longer in the Patriots’ plans, now that they’ve re-signed Dan Connolly, who did a decent job in his place. Koppen has been good before, better as a run-blocker than pass-blocker, and is a guy I’d like to see in two-tone blue.
Steve Hutchinson, who the Titans signed on Thursday, has played left guard his entire career. If he remains at LG with the Titans, there will still be a hole to fill at right guard, which could mean moving Leroy Harris or Amano if the Titans stay in-house to fill the position.
Tom wrote there are no RGs available that he likes and looking at the list of them, you see why. Free agents Vernon Carey (MIA, age 31), Cooper Carlisle (OAK, 35), Ryan Diem (IND, 33), Anthony Herrera (MIN, 32) and Bobbie Williams (CIN, 36) were all starting right guards last year (ages as of this season.) None of them stood out in a good way and all are older than you’d like to see, especially with the addition of Hutchinson, who will be 35 in November. See also Tom’s article from last week, assessing free agent guards.
There’s one name that intrigues me. Chilo Rachal, a 26-year old former second-round draft pick, lost his starting job last year in San Francisco. As the 39th overall pick, he has, or had, tremendous potential. Rachal has certainly been up and down. Tom named him to the Football Outsiders 2009 All-Keep Choppin’ Wood team and a year later, Pro Football Focus called him a secret superstar. Then he lost his starting job in 2011. I don’t know what his problems were, but he could certainly be a low risk, high reward player.
Brodrick Bunkley – It seems that the Broncos, with their priority on signing Peyton, haven’t been able to re-sign Bunkley, though it’s been reported they were talking with him, or more likely, his agent. Bunkley is now visiting with the Saints. Although the 2006 first-round draft pick (14th overall) didn’t live up to expectations in Philadelphia he had a good season in Denver last year and I still prefer him over the following two guys.
Aubrayo Franklin and Shaun Rogers – Neither of them lived up to the Saints’ expectations of them last season. Although it’s been reported the Saints were interested in re-signing both of them, they also had more important priorities, including Drew Brees, Carl Nicks, Marques Colston, Tracy Porter and Robert Meachem. The Saints also seem to think Bunkley would be an upgrade for them over Franklin and/or Rogers. Franklin might be more sought after as a 3-4 NT than as a 4-3 DT, though he’s played both, as has Rogers. Franklin will be 32 this season and Rogers just turned 33.
I’m not convinced the Titans are interested in any of those DTs, but they’re probably the best three that are available, or at least the best known. Perhaps the Titans will pick up some lesser-known player at that position and others.