A critical offseason lies ahead for the Tennessee Titans after coming off an ugly 6-10 campaign in 2012.
The Titans have to make some solid moves to keep things from repeating in 2013, and that means spending a little money for a change.
There are some very intriguing free agents who will be available this offseason who could really make this team a competitive one in the AFC South.
The question is, will the Titans be willing to make these cost-effective moves?
The weapons that Jake Locker has at his disposal are few and far between, but Jared Cook is a weapon that is critical to Locker's development next season.
Cook put a ton of pressure on opposing defenses, thanks to his amazing athleticism for a tight end. If a better offensive system is put in place, then Cook can really flourish more than he has in the past.
The Titans have to be willing to pay Cook the money he deserves. If they don't, then another team will benefit from Cook's services.
Will Witherspoon has done some great things during his three seasons with the Titans, but the Titans simply don't need him anymore.
The Titans are set at linebacker with Akeem Ayers, Colin McCarthy and Zach Brown.
Tim Shaw also played really well in place of McCarthy down the stretch.
Unless Witherspoon is willing to play for free, then Titans need cut ties with the 12-year veteran.
It was really unfortunate that we never really got to see Javon Ringer's full potential before becoming a free agent this offseason.
With that said, it's really tough to justify re-signing Ringer after having Jamie Harper and Darius Reynaud also on the roster.
Reynaud played really well on special teams this season, and Harper has emerged as a great short-yardage running back.
That kind of leaves Ringer as the odd man out. Releasing him should free up some more spending money for the Titans to pursuit another free agent.
Darius Reynaud really emerged in the absence of Marc Mariani this season, and the Titans need to keep this dynamic playmaker in the powder blue.
The value isn't quite there in the running game, but the Titans don't really need him for that. He's way more valuable as a return man, and he proved that on several occasions this season.
As long as Reynaud doesn't demand a ridiculous price tag, then the Titans should retain this threat to score at any given moment on special teams.
Reynaud earned a chance to get another gig with the Titans after earning AFC Special Teams Player of the Week on two separate occasions and also finishing fourth in the NFL in punt-return average.
Once you catch lightning in a bottle, you need to do everything you can to hold onto it.
There's no doubt that the Titans need a major makeover on the offensive line, and it starts with getting a veteran offensive guard to protect Jake Locker.
According to a tweet by Jerry Sullivan of The Buffalo News, Andy Levitre has made it pretty clear that he wants to test the free-agency market, and that means the Titans have to make a solid effort at getting him.
Since Levitre is highly regarded as the best offensive guard in free agency this year, the Titans are going to have to put up a good offer.
In return, the Titans would be getting a durable veteran to help solidify the offensive line and keep Locker from constantly running for his life.
If the Titans can beef up the offensive line, then Locker's numbers will improve drastically in 2013. This is a cost-effective move worth making by the Titans.
The Titans desperately need a premiere pass-rusher back on their defensive line, and Osi Umenyiora would be worth the money spent.
Umenyiora is keeping his options open as a free agent, and that's good news for any team that needs help on the defensive line.
It's true that Umenyiora is a little past his prime, but he would still be a huge upgrade to a Titans team that has struggled to put pressure on the quarterback over the past couple of seasons.
Having a better pass rush would also help out the secondary.
Finally, signing a guy like Umenyiora would finally get fans buzzing about the Titans again. He might demand a hefty contract, but it would be money well spent if it meant making the defense a respected one once again.