Bengals sign Odom; Bell to Rams; Cards, LaBoy close

Monday, March 3, 2008 at 2:05pm

While the Tennessee Titans brought tight end Alge Crumpler into the fold Monday, they were unable to stop the bleeding in terms of their own free agent exodus.

Defensive end Antwan Odom and guard Jacob Bell both accepted free agent offers from the Cincinnati Bengals and St. Louis Rams, respectively, while defensive end Travis LaBoy appeared on the verge of landing with the Arizona Cardinals.

Odom, considered the top defensive end on the market after Justin Smith signed with San Francisco over the weekend, signed on to replace Smith with the Bengals, agreeing to a five-year, $29.5 million deal with $11.5 million in guaranteed money.

Odom had drawn interested from the Cardinals and Minnesota Vikings, whom he was supposed to visit on Tuesday before the Bengals trumped that with a major deal.

Odom, 26, enjoyed a career year with eight sacks playing opposite Kyle Vanden Bosch and Albert Haynesworth.

The Titans had hoped to keep him and were negotiating up until last Friday’s deadline before he hit the open market.

Odom’s agent Tony Agnone explained earlier Monday before the signing that while Tennessee remained interested, it was much tougher to get a deal done with the Titans once other teams were injected into the equation.

“You know how it is when you let them get out there and run around a little bit,” Agnone said. “It makes it much tougher.”

It was a tough day for the Titans, who also appeared to be close to losing LaBoy. The NFL Network reported a five-year, $22 million deal with $8 million in guaranteed money had been completed, but the agent’s brother C.J. LaBoy said several details still had yet to be finalized.

LaBoy, 26, teamed with Odom this season and had six sacks being used largely as a situational pass rusher. One of the things LaBoy had been seeking in free agency was an opportunity to have a larger role, and it appears he could have that with the Cardinals.

LaBoy had also been courted by the Cleveland Browns, but according to a league source, would have been in a more situational role there, had he signed.

The offensive line also took a hit Monday as Bell signed with the Rams, agreeing to a six-year deal. Terms of that deal were not immediately known, but with right guard Benji Olson contemplating retirement because of a bad back, the Titans will have to either go into free agency or use players with limited experience, such as Eugene Amano, Daniel Loper or Leroy Harris at the position.

WAITING: The Titans continue to wait at the wide receiver position as their two top free agent targets, but had yet to bring any players in at that spot. Bryant Johnson of Arizona spent the day visiting with the Buffalo Bills, while Seattle’s D.J. Hackett is another player the Titans supposedly have interest in, but have yet to make a move on.

WELCOME IN: The Titans are expected to fill their vacant running backs coach position with veteran NFL running back Earnest Byner. Byner, who had been with the Washington Redskins before a coaching change, would replace Sherman Smith, who is now the Redskins offensive coordinator.

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By: BigPapa on 12/31/69 at 6:00

I say we sign Kearse, Carter, Lo Neal, Eddie George, and get Frank out of the both.

By: idgaf on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Bud shifted to his milking stage like he did in Houston.The least amount of money he pays out the more he makes.

By: TITAN1 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

idgaf, the Titans put a value on players, if someone else wants to overpay, let them.

By: jwk6179 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

It's the same story year after year. During the late part of the season, the play-offs and the off-season, all the LOCAL MEDIA puts out the story about how all these GREAT FREE AGENTS are just dying to play for the Titans and are even willing to take less money to play here. Yet just as soon as the free agent signing period starts, the SAME LOCAL MEDIA that put out the stories about all the great free agents wanting to come here will then report that it is really a WEAK FREE AGENT MARKET and that the Titans put a value on all players and aren't going to overplay for these players that were going to sign with the Titans just a few weeks ago. It still seems that some of the gulliable fans are still drinking Bud's Kool-Aid!

By: TITAN1 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

jw, what team do you pull for? It sure as hell isn't the Titans.

By: dgallent on 12/31/69 at 6:00

I really like what the Titans are doing....no panicing and throwing a bunch of money at players past their prime. I like the Crumpler deal a lot. Think they got him cheap. We need a DE and a safety and one more receiver....make that two more receivers....We will be fine....we have great coaches and our QB wil be much better or he won't play.....I know 'Dinger!

By: TITAN1 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

You are right dgallent, those who don't like the Titans never have anything good to say about them. They just spew a bunch of negative crap and expect everyone else to believe it.