Tennessee Titans: 5 Players the Titans Should Target in Free Agency
The Tennessee Titans don't have a ton of cap room after a big year last season. They added Matt Hasselbeck and a few other one-year players and, of course, sunk millions of dollars into Chris Johnson.
Luckily, they had a good draft, and even with the likely departure of Michael Griffin, the team ought to be in good shape this season.
So, with a relatively limited amount of cap space, but a few positions of need, who should the Titans target in free agency? Here are five guys I think the Titans should call.
1. Robert Meachem, WR, Saints
The Titans could use some help at wide receiver. After Kenny Britt went down with an injury, it became clear just how thin the team is at that position.
The Titans won't have the cap room to give anyone a big contract, but if they want bang for their buck, they should grab Robert Meachem.
Meachem is a great receiver, but with a tight end like Jimmy Graham, a scat-back like Darren Sproles and a quarterback that spreads the ball the way Drew Brees does, he doesn't get a ton of touches. This season, he caught 40 balls for 620 yards and six touchdowns.
That isn't terrific production, but it is very good considering whom he has to share those catches with.
The Saints will be giving Brees a monster contract this season, so New Orleans may not be able to afford to keep some of their players around, and a rotational receiver like Meachem might be on the market.
Also, as a Tennessee fan, I always like to see former Vols in Nashville.
2. Cortland Finnegan, CB, Tennessee Titans
I know he's already on the team, but resigning Cortland Finnegan has to be Tennessee's top priority in free agency this offseason. He's been a top-10 corner for most of his career, all of which has been in Tennessee.
This season, Finnegan had 75 total tackles, one interception (with about four near-interceptions), a sack and 11 passes broken up.
I'm concerned that Finnegan—like Stephen Tulloch and Kyle Vanden Bosch—will head up to Detroit with Jim Schwartz, who just happens to need an upgrade at corner.
Finnegan wanted a contract extension at the beginning of the season, so I think if the Titans offer him a fair deal, he'll stick around. However, I have no idea how much money he's expecting, so it's impossible to say what will happen.
3. Brandon Carr, CB, Kansas City Chiefs
I'm thinking that the Titans will retain Finnegan, and the Chiefs will retain Brandon Carr. But if that doesn't happen, the Titans could get another great corner (not as good as Finnegan, but still great) for significantly less money than it would cost to retain Finnegan.
In 2011, Brandon Carr only had 47 tackles, but he also had four interceptions and defended a monstrous 15 passes. He's not as physical as Finnegan, but he's more of a ball-hawk. Since Tennessee has had a little trouble creating turnovers, having a guy like Carr would be great.
He made $2.61 million last year, as opposed to Finnegan's $3.29 million, so that ought to give you an idea of how much the Titans would save.
4. Tyvon Branch, SS, Oakland Raiders
Jordan Babineaux was definitely an upgrade over Chris Hope this season, but with Griffin likely out and a weak safety draft class, upgrading the strong-safety position could be critical to keeping the Titans on the right track.
Tyvon Branch would be a great upgrade. He's a solid tackler and has been solid in coverage. He's weak in man coverage, but the Titans run almost exclusively zone-coverage schemes. He had 109 tackles this season with a sack, an interception and four broken-up passes.
The big upside for Branch is that he's 25 years old, so he's just getting into his prime.
Now, if Jordan Babineaux doesn't want a big raise or a long contract, he could be the answer for the next few years. If not, Branch could be a long-term solution if the Raiders don't retain him.
5. Scott Wells, C, Green Bay Packers
The Titans need help on the interior offensive line. There is a good guard class in the 2012 draft, but the center class is a little thin, so the Titans may go for a center in free agency. It certainly worked with Kevin Mawae.
Now, I may be a little biased as a Vols fan, but I think Scott Wells would be a pretty good fit for Tennessee's offensive line. He is a little old at 31, but he had a great year with Green Bay, and since they may spend big bucks on defense in free agency, an older interior lineman like Wells could slip through the cracks.
With Wells at center, the Titans could try moving Eugene Amano back to guard (maybe the right side if he can't take the left) and draft another interior lineman early in the draft if Jake Scott leaves. If the Titans keep Jake Scott around, then they can decide whether or not Amano is better at left guard than Leroy Harris.
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