With the recent progress made in ongoing talks between the NFL owners and its players, it looks more and more like there will be a “normal” season this year. That being said, its time to turn our attention to some of the events that have usually transpired by now during a regular calendar year. Specifically, NFL Free Agency.
Recent reports have been leaked that the new collective bargaining agreement will contain free agency as we have come to know it. Meaning that a player must be in the league for 4 years before they qualify as an unrestricted free agent and are allowed when their current contract is up to move to whichever team is willing to pay the most money for their services. If this rings true the Titans stand to lose some key veterans.
Four starters from last years team would qualify for unrestricted free agency should that come to fruition. Jacob Ford is an undersized defensive end who the Titans have mainly used as a situational pass rusher. Given that the Titans have made no secrets about getting bigger on the defensive front I can’t foresee the Titans attempting to resign him.
Former U.S. Marine turned fullback Ahmard Hall on the other hand should be made a priority. His skills out of the backfield as a receiver are somewhat underrated making him a legitimate threat for the offense rather than just an extra blocker like some fullbacks. The sarge is a key component to a rushing attack that has been one of the best in the NFL over the last few years and one of the true “leaders” in the locker room.
Left Guard Leroy Harris is also due to hit the open market when the players and the owners can get across their current impasse. His production in his first year as a full time starter did not justify the faith put in him by the coaching staff. Honestly I am unimpressed by Harris. Eugene Amano should be moved by to guard where he excelled during CJ’s 2000 yard campaign and the Titans should look to sign a veteran center who can do the job effectively.
The position of middle linebacker has been neglected by the Titans for almost Eight years. Since Randall Godfrey left for the Seattle Seahawks in 2003 there has been a gaping void in the middle of our defense. People like free agent to be Stephen Tulloch have done their part trying to fill in, but the guy in the middle of a 4-3 defense has got to be mean, nasty and BIG (See Ray Lewis). Tulloch’s tenacity brings two out of three, but there is no replacing the third one. Undersized middle linebackers simply don’t get the job done.
The Titans have some serious work to do if they want to be competitive in 2011. The hard part for them is going to be admitting to themselves they have made mistakes, and having the courage to be bold enough to correct them.