Alright Titans fans, it’s about to start getting busy again over the course of the next month, and we’ll be putting our eight cents in. Don’t believe me? Well see for yourself (courtesy of NFL.com):
Feb. 18-24 — NFL Scouting Combine: Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Ind.
Feb. 19 — Deadline for clubs to designate franchise and transition players.
Feb. 26 — Deadline for submission of qualifying offers by clubs to their restricted free agents whose contracts have expired and to whom they desire to retain a right of first refusal/compensation. Deadline for clubs to submit offer of minimum salary to retain exclusive negotiating rights to their players with fewer than three seasons of free agency credit whose contracts have expired.
Feb. 27 — Veteran free agency signing period begins. Trading period begins.
March 22-25 — NFL Annual Meeting: Dana Point, Calif.
April 17 — Signing period ends for restricted free agents.
April 24 — Deadline for old club to exercise right of first refusal to restricted free agents.
April 25-26 — NFL Draft: New York City.
There’s alot going on. The combine starts tomorrow, and Thursday marks the deadline for teams to franchise a player. Which kind of takes us to our first order of business.
- The Big Man, Albert Haynesworth. For the second consecutive off-season, the priority of the Titans is what to do with DT Albert Haynesworth, who arguably has been the most dominant defensive player in the league (when healthy) for the last two seasons. We all know that Haynesworth was franchised last season, and contractually that is not a possibility this time around. Apparently whatever good will he had for the hometown team ended last off season: “I want to be the top, not among the top. That’s how the market goes. They put you as the top free agent, so you got to demand top dollar. It’s not me. I’m not making up these numbers. It’s you guys that come up with the numbers, so I go by that, too. Hopefully, the Titans step up, if they don’t, I’m looking.” It will be very interesting to see how these talks progress.
- It looks like the only QB that will certainly be back next season is Vince Young. Kerry Collins and Chris Simms are both free agents, and there’s no guarantee that either one of them will be back. The Titans and Collins both want Kerry to be starting for Tennessee come week one, but there’s been absolutely no sign that a deal is anywhere close to imminent. Simms has also been assured by the Titans that he’s wanted back, but he’s apparently on the radar of some other teams (Bears- and maybe even the Cowboys) as well, so don’t be surprised if he tests the market. In Nashville I doubt he’d even be guaranteed the backup spot coming out of camp. I really don’t expect to see Young as the only current QB still on the roster come next season, but if he is we might see a revamped draft need next month.
- In happier “retaining valuable current Titans” news, it looks like Tennessee and Chris Carr might strike a deal before free agency starts on February 27, though (obviously) nothing is guaranteed. The Titans re-upping Carr would be very good news. After a few lackluster games to open up the season, Carr led the Titans to the highest kick return average in the league, and also played more than serviceably as a CB when he was called on this season. That versatility at a presumably affordable price is very hard to come by in this league.
- As noted above, Thursday is the deadline to franchise a player, but there is no obvious person that fits the bill for the Titans. The two most talked about players are TE Bo Scaife (4.5 million) and K Rob Bironas (2.5 million). I think that both of those gentlemen have been very valuable Titans over the last few years (and might certainly continue to be), but don’t be all that surprised if Tennessee doesn’t franchise anyone this year. Certainly not Mr. Kerry Collins (14+ million).
- We’ve seen a few cap casualties over the last couple days, but none bigger than the Jaguars cutting RB Fred Taylor on Monday. Anyone with any knowledge of this division (or the league in general) knows that Taylor, in his prime, was as elite a running back as it gets. If Taylor’s last few healthy seasons are any indication, he’s probably still got some gas in the tank to pad his numbers that are probably already Hall worthy. There’s not a Hall eligible running back with more yards than Taylor that’s not enshrined in Canton, and there’s a very good chance that all of the backs (with more yards than Taylor) haven’t be retired long enough or are still active (Emmitt Smith, Curtis Martin, Jerome Bettis, Marshall Faulk, Edgerrin James and LaDainian Tomlinson) will all have busts commissioned sometime in the not too distant future.
- We wanted to pass along an email that we received the other day from a woman named Jennifer Baker. Jennifer is a NYC-based athlete who is training for the upcoming Country Music Marathon that will take place here in Nashville on Saturday, April 25th (as if country music and marathons go together. The only marathon dude from Rascall Flatts knows is the “Hot Pockets” eating marathon he had on his couch last night). Jennifer is a member of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s (LLS) Team In Training and is trying to raise some money for LLS. In doing so, she has acquired some Titans memorabilia that she is auctioning off, including a Tennessee Titans football signed by Steve McNair and a 2000 Fleer Metal Eddie George signed card. If you would like to bid on either of these items or would like any more info, you can contact Jennifer directly at [email protected]. Good luck Jennifer!
- One last thing. For those of you that are religious, now is the time to rejoice the start of Spring Training. Pitchers and catchers have reported for every team, and every team’s got a chance…
Topics: Albert Haynesworth, Bo Scaife, Chicago Bears, Chris Carr, Chris Simms, Country Music Marathon, Curtis Martin, Dallas Cowboys, Eddie George, Edgerrin James, Emmitt Smith, Fleer, Franchise Player, Franchise Tag, Fred Taylor, Free Agency, Hall Of Fame, Jacksonville Jaguars, Jennifer Baker, Jerome Bettis, Kerry Collins, LaDainian Tomlinson, Marshall Faulk, Nashville TN, New York City, NFL Draft, Pro Bowl, Rascall Flatts, Restricted Free Agency, Rob Bironas, Salary Cap, Scouting Combine, Spring Training, Steve McNair, Tennessee Titans, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's (LLS) Team In Training, Vince Young