Dec 23, 2012; Green Bay, WI, USA; Tennessee Titans quarterback Jake Locker (10) and quarterback Matt Hasselbeck (8) warm up before game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
Could the Titans cut veterans Matt Hasselbeck and Nate Washington?
Before anyone jumps off the deep end, I’m not saying that this will happen, or even should happen. But at the risk of sensationalism, the possibility isn’t that far fetched. The Titans have been on a bit of a spending spree in free agency as of late which is all well and good. They had money to spend and are doing so, and the way they are spending the money has been well received. Their biggest signing was to offensive guard Andy Levitre, and although they paid him well for a guard, he didn’t break the bank. So far they have spread around what they had to spend and are trying to cover all their bases.
By all calculations, however, the Titans should be done spending. They entered free agency with about $18M to spend in cap room this year. Apparently they spent just over that, about $18M, in cap hits for the 2013 year with their free agent signings. Reports have it that the Titans are still in the ball park of $5M under the cap with the departure of Jordan Babineaux and the retirement of Steve Hutchinson. This money will be needed to sign the incoming rookie class.
The Titans have said they aren’t finished with their free agency moves, and continue to schedule meetings with second to third tier guys, that are badly needed on this team, but whose contracts won’t strain the budget too much either. That’s all well and good, but what about Wes Welker? Danny Amendola? Elvis Dumervil?
This is the fishy part. The Titans have basically spent what they can, but they’re obviously not done shopping. The front office isn’t clueless, and had to at least know the ballpark of what Welker would have cost. Where are they going to come up with that kind of dough? And now they are reportedly in a four way race for Elvis Dumervil, who was about 10 minutes away from signing back in Denver for $8M guaranteed in 2013. I can understand the Titans picking up filler pieces here and there and making the numbers work by cutting some of the lower end of the roster. What I don’t understand is how they’re going to sign Elvis Dumervil unless they’ve got a Platinum Card the league lets them use no one else knows about.
Ace In The Hole
Dec 17, 2012; Nashville, TN, USA; Tennessee Titans receiver Nate Washington (85) is pursued by New York Jets safety Yeremiah Bell (37) at LP Field. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY Sports
Cutting Hasselbeck outright saves the Titans $5.5M. We all know Matt Hasselebeck said he was open to restructuring his contract, which is assumed to happen once the Titans know what they can afford. This coaching staff has bet the farm on Jake Locker, and are trying to do their best to put the pieces around him to succeed. Is Matt Hasselbeck still one of those pieces? Can Matt Haesslebeck get the Titans to the playoffs if Locker goes down for the season? Would you rather have a stud DE that can get the offense back on the field, or a back up QB?
Nate Washington saves them $4.2M if cut outright. Washington was reportedly shopped around for a trade once the news of the Titans courting Amendola hit. As much of a surprise as this was to most, it’s obvious that if the Titans can find the right guy to play the slot, Washington’s gone one way or the other. They want to move Kendall Wright to the outside and can save $4.2M at the same time. The addition of Levitre, Walker and Greene also point to the fact that the Titans plan on returning to the run game, and have already invested heavily on that side of the ball.
So, how can the Titans continue to entertain big named, high dollar free agents when they’ve already spent all they have? By cutting the two biggest numbers on the books for the upcoming year not named Roos or Stewart.
You can argue with me on Twitter @gunnelsj