Start of NFL's free agency period means the end of Titans' tenure for some

Monday, March 12, 2012 at 9:43pm

The end of the NFL’s league year means the end of some players’ time with the Tennessee Titans.

As of Monday evening, 14 members of last season’s Titans were scheduled to become unrestricted free agents. That group ranged from long-time starters to some who spent very little time on the team.

At the end of the regular season there were 18, but tight end Craig Stevens, wide receiver Lavelle Hawkins and tackle Mike Otto all signed new contracts to stay with the team. Safety Michael Griffin was tagged as Tennessee’s franchise player, which all but guaranteed he would be back for at least one more season.

A rundown of those scheduled to become free agents as of 3 p.m. (CDT) Tuesday:

STARTERS AT THE END
These players have been fixtures in the lineup for an extended period:

• Cortland Finnegan, cornerback (28 years old): Tough, productive, versatile and a fan favorite during his six seasons.

• Ahmard Hall, fullback (32 years old): A capable and competitive presence who might be considered expendable.

• Chris Hope, safety (31 years old): Has been a consistent starter, but his numbers have dropped over time.

• Jake Scott, guard (30 years old): The Titans never have been afraid to play with aging offensive linemen.

ON A ROLE
These players were sometime starters and regular contributors in a variety of roles:

• Jordan Babineaux, safety (29 years old): Was productive as both a starter and a reserve in his first season with the franchise.

• Dave Ball, defensive end (31 years old): Age and a history of concussions might means the end of his career.

• William Hayes, defensive end (26 years old): Drafted as a project, he never blossomed to the degree the Titans hoped.

• Jason Jones, defensive tackle, (25 years old): His versatility and unselfish approach add to his appeal.

SPECIAL SPECIALISTS
The majority of these players’ efforts were limited to special teams:

• Ken Amato, long snapper (34 years old): Plays a role that often extends careers well beyond the norm.

• Patrick Bailey, linebacker (26 years old): A dominant special teams player, which is considered a luxury on some teams.

• Tim Shaw, linebacker (27 years old): Another strong special teams presence who also provides depth at linebacker.

• Anthony Smith, safety (28 years old): Added toughness and depth to the secondary as a free agent.

WE HARDLY KNEW YE
These players were added last season but, for whatever reason, made minimal a impact:

• Donnie Avery, wide receiver (27 years old): Made little impact as an in-season waiver claim last fall.

• Barrett Ruud, linebacker (28 years old): The emergence of rookie Colin McCarthy last season likely sealed Ruud’s fate for this one.