Analysis: Handicapping the Titans' free agent field

Thursday, March 4, 2010 at 6:53pm

When the clock strikes midnight (Eastern), another year of free agency will begin in the NFL. This year will be unlike any other in that it is an uncapped year with no limits on spending for players in free agency.

That said, look for the Titans to sit back and take their usual cautious approach, even if it means some of the biggest names, including a few of their own, head for greener pastures elsewhere.

Also, I wouldn’t expect Tennessee to jump into the fray for any of the top-rated free agents from other teams immediately either. Even though the Titans admit their defense needs to be repaired, don’t look for Julius Peppers or Karlos Dansby to be touching down in Nashville as they search for big free-agent deals.

In all, eight Titans players hit the unrestricted free agent market tonight at 11 p.m. Nashville time.

Here is one man’s handicapping of how much of a chance the Titans might have to retain each of these players.

LB Keith Bulluck: (Chance of returning – 20 percent) Bulluck and his agent Gary Wichard had to be baffled by the Titans’ refusal to engage in any talks about an extension. That meant he was all but out the door. However, because he is coming off knee surgery and might not be able to help a team right away, he could linger on the free agent market, giving the Titans time to size up their linebacker situation and see if Bulluck still fits.

TE Alge Crumpler: (Chance of returning – 65 percent) Crumpler’s agent told The City Paper recently he was hopeful a deal could be worked out to keep the veteran tight end in Tennessee. Jeff Fisher said the same thing at the Combine. Despite the presence of Craig Stevens, Crumpler could still be a viable option in the Tennessee run game.

CB Nick Harper: (Chance of returning – 0 percent) Harper had issues with his forearm last year, and the Titans are ready to move on and get younger from the 35-year-old cornerback who has been a solid leader and veteran presence since arriving from Indianapolis.

CB Rod Hood: (Chance of returning – 20 percent) Hood played well in spurts when he started in place of Harper. The Titans had voiced some interest in bringing him back, and he could serve as decent veteran depth and perhaps even compete with some younger corners in camp for a starter’s role.

S Kevin Kaesviharn: (Chance of returning – 5 percent) Kaesviharn did a decent job filling a role on special teams as an in-season replacement, but that role will probably go to a younger player in 2010.

DE Jevon Kearse: (Chance of returning – 0 percent) Jeff Fisher explained last week that Kearse’s time with the Titans had come to an end. The question becomes is it the end of his NFL career.

C Kevin Mawae: (Chance of returning – 15 percent) Mawae and his family love Nashville and love the Titans, but with the re-signing of Eugene Amano, there is no starting job awaiting him in Tennessee. He has a standing offer to return as a backup, but probably will find a job as a starter on a team needing a quick fix at center.

DE Kyle Vanden Bosch: (Chance of returning – 10 percent) Vanden Bosch has been a stalwart since arriving five years ago from Arizona, making three Pro Bowls. But the Titans have not had any meaningful talks with him about an extension, and some team will pony up for him in a defensive end market that gets thin once Peppers is gone.


10 Comments on this post:

By: TitansFan035 on 3/5/10 at 7:25

Well according to coach 500. Nick Harper, give us the best chance to win football games and he wants him back in Nashville... I feel another 500 season coming our way guys. Bud is too cheap to get to a superbowl specially with a roster full of nobody's!!

By: titansection104 on 3/5/10 at 8:03

Dittio TitansFan035! You would think Bud would let go some of that money before He passes to buy the best team possible?
But as Fish has said in the past, "We are going to do the same thing we always do". That means we will go 500 and get our TV dough and stay fat and Happy!
I think the fans are tunining Fish out. Time for a change.

By: TITAN1 on 3/5/10 at 8:29


By: hibbler on 3/5/10 at 12:11

I agree 104, time for a change. On the other hand, we could then become the lions, or the 49ers, or the raiders, or the chiefs, and really stink. Stay average with a good season from time to time or take a chance on being bad for a while? I really don't mind fisher football, I just would rather have an offense built around a traditional pro style QB. IMO, that's the way you win.

By: wayneCaluger on 3/5/10 at 12:55

Regardless of who the coach their ability is always tempered by what the owner is willing to spend and no good coach is going to risk his career at the hands of a owner who want pony up to provide money to keep or sign quality players. That's the main reason Houston showed Bud the highway when he demanded taxpayers give him a new stadium.

The taxpayers are on the hook for around $120 million for the stadium Bud controls.As taxpayers we have the right to demand he do his part to ensure we have a team that will draw fans and national TV interest to pay down the note. With no salary cap it makes no sense whatsoever to let good players walk with no plan or money to replace them with equal or better players.

Jerry Jones has already stated the Cowboys will have at least 10 new players this year to ensure Dallas will be in next years Superbowl in Dallas. Redskins owner Dan Snyder has handed his check book over to GM Bruce Allen and coach Mike Shanahan while the Colts and others focused on re-signing their players.

The point is, the free agency market with no salary cap is going to be short on good players period since Jones, Snyder and other owners who are actually committed to fielding a competitive team will snapped up the better players. Adams is acting if there is a salary cap throwing proven players to the wind when in fact there is no cap and he around 20 million left over from last year.

So you fire Fisher who can you get to do better with no owner support/commitment? Why should Bud care, unlike Jones who is on the hook for new stadium in Dallas, it's the taxpayers that's on the hook for Bud's play ground. Unlike Al Davis in Oakland who has a bad stadium deal, Bud has a sweet heart deal. Nashville cannot commit to any event for Bud's stadium without his approval and cut outside of the original TSU home game agreement.

Enjoy CJ while you can. When his contract is up he will no doubt join the long list of former Titans like Kerse, Haynesworth, Mason, Hartwig, Rolle, Antwan Odom and others who went on to play for other teams. Yes Haynesworth wanted to much, but we may have been able to re-sign him the year before for a reasonable amount, but nobody tried sticking the franchise tag on him like Bo Scaife last year!

Pray for new ownership first and go from there!

By: TitansFan035 on 3/5/10 at 1:14

Wayne I have to agree with you!!!! Nashville won't see a superbowl ever with that stingy arsse owner we have! People talk smack about Al Davis but at least Al spends money to win unlike Bud!

By: TITAN1 on 3/5/10 at 1:21

LOL! You two crack me up! LOL!

By: TITAN1 on 3/5/10 at 1:46

Wayne, one important issue you left out of your rambling. If the cap returns soon, then any team that went on a major spending spree is likely to be in trouble for the long haul. I'd rather my team look at the long haul and not just one or two seasons. BTW, Mr Adams left Houston because the politicians there were stupid enough to think he was bluffing and thought the worn out Astrodome was still a top notch NFL venue. Nice try, but as usual your rambling and bashing of Mr Adams ended up being just that, rambling.

By: wayneCaluger on 3/5/10 at 5:43

Well friends and family in Houston were not sorry to see Bud go and didn't waste anytime building a stadium and getting a new team and owner. Commitment is a two way street and you want taxpayers to commit millions of dollars via bonds to build a stadium then the team owner should make an effort to provide a competitive team.

As of the news at 5:00 Bosch is a Lion, one gone within hours of free agency.

Well the cap return? If up to the Jerry Jones and Dan Synder's of the world it may not return and if the owners agree to bring it back I would suspect they would not roll it back, but pick up at where the big bucks boys like Jones are at . I really doubt the salary cap will return, if so it will be at the new bench mark set by larger team salaries not today cap level.

I will pass on your analysis that Bud left Houston because the politicians were stupid enough to think he was bluffing and thought the worn out Astrodome was still a top notch NFL venue to family and friends in Houston. Shame on family for telling me all that bad rambling stuff of hating to lose the Olier,s but glad to get rid of Bud.

By: TITAN1 on 3/5/10 at 7:16

Believe what you want Wayne. As for the salary cap, only a fool would think that it won't return. A bigger fool would think it would pick up where the salaries will be then. Wayne, you are nothing but a whiner. Be proud that we are an NFL city with a very competitive team most years, thanks to Mr Adams, then mayor Bredesen, and all of us NFL YES voters!