Naturally, since in yesterday's post I noted the Titans hadn't been very active in re-signing their own players, they went ahead and reupped two, re-signing kicker Rob Bironas and defensive end Keyunta Dawson. Bironas's deal is reportedly for $6.7 million over two years, while Dawson's is apparently another one-year deal for the league minimum.
As I noted in my special teams analysis, Bironas was a below-average kicker in 2012 after spending several seasons at or among the league's best. An APY for $3.35 million is a very good one for a kicker, and I believe better than the one in the four-year deal that ran through 2012. While kickers are able to perform effectively even at advanced ages, paying a kicker more at age 35 than at age 31 when the most consistent skill among kickers, leg strength, tends to decline is not a very intelligent move. There will probably be a half-dozen kickers who were better than Bironas in 2012 who get less than $3.35 million per year this offseason, but hey, scratch a kicker off the list of team needs.
Dawson played 38 snaps at defensive end for the Titans in 2012 before going on injured reserve after Week 3. He played exclusively (or nearly so) right defensive end in place for Kamerion Wimbley. He looked okay in the preseason, but didn't do anything in his brief regular season action. In the defensive ends analysis, I wrote I couldn't see him back with the team. I backed down from that a bit in yesterday's post, because it's hard for me to distinguish one backup option who hasn't played much from another.
Still, I'm surprised by the timing of the move. Here's the question: Are there two roster spots for Dawson and Scott Solomon? I don't think either is the guy the Titans need to play on early downs or in base personnel to get stronger against the run. In that case, there might be two roster spots, but there probably are not two spots on the 46-man active roster. Maybe I'm questioning Dawson's judgment here more than the Titans', and he's in a position to know more than I am. Still, I'm not sure he's much more than 50-50 to make it to September.