With the start of the new League Year fast approaching, the Titans took care of some necessary business on Monday, putting a restricted free agent tender on Fernando Velasco. Jim Wyatt indicated it was the second-round tender amount of $2.023 million. I'd expected the Titans to tender Velasco at that level; it's $680,000 more than the lowest possible tender, but as Velasco was an undrafted free agent, the Titans could have lost him for no compensation. Since nobody is giving up a second-round pick for Velasco, write his name in pen as a starting interior offensive lineman for the Titans in 2013, with center the most likely position.
In a move I didn't expect, the Titans did not choose to tender Kevin Matthews. He was an exclusive rights free agent, so the tender amount was only for the relevant league minimum of $630,000. The cynic in me wants to say that with Mike Munchak's job on the line, and likely Bruce Matthews' as well, it was time to give up the scholarship program and find a real interior backup lineman. I'd expected the Titans to tender Matthews, just because the only reason not to do so was if he wasn't in their plans at all. The Titans also did not tender Kyle DeVan; I thought he was a UFA, but did not expect him back in any event.
Meanwhile, as first reported by Jay Glazer, guard Steve Hutchinson plans to retire on Tuesday. While Matt Hasselbeck indicated last month Hutchinson was working out like he planned to continue playing, Glazer indicates he realized it was time to move on. If your interpretation is that the Titans told him they planned to release him rather than pay his roster bonus in a couple days, well, we are on the same page (as is Paul Kuharsky). As GM Ruston Webster noted at the scouting combine, "You have to be careful when you bring in older players that you're not getting injured older players."
Including the Velasco tender and the cap effects of Hutchinson's retirement, my best estimate is the Titans have about $17.5 million in cap space available.