Here is the list of the upcoming 2014 Titans free agents along with their ages and final contract numbers. This information from comes Spotrac. Frankly, it’s doubtful to think any will return following the termination of former head coach Mike Munchak and what appears to be the entire coaching staff. There are several players under contract who could be in trouble as well but that’s for another post. The new head coach will largely determine things. So without further ado let’s take a look.
|Michael Otto||LT, T||UFA||TEN||TBD||30||$2,075,000|
It’s not debatable that Bernard Pollard is the best name on this list. Pollard was a difference maker on the defense and helped infuse a culture change on that side of the ball. The Titans were a much tougher team in 2013 and Pollard was a large part of it. Pollard publicly supported Mike Munchak and has been noncommittal regarding his future with the Titans. He hasn’t spoken publicly about the firing.
I know some people will think Alterraun Verner would be first but I just think it’s difficult for a team to pay #1 cornerback money to 2 different guys and that’s what they are looking at. Jason McCourty also was great in 2013 and is being paid a lot of money. He is scheduled to make 6.5 million in 2014 ($3.5 million base plus a $3 million roster bonus) per Rotoworld. Spotrac has his salary at $8.3 million which might include some of his signing bonus. Verner could get tagged but the franchise tag is expected to be $11.2 million. It is highly unlikely they do it.
Ropati Pitoitua was signed to a one year deal and ended up playing a lot at defensive end. He certainly had moments and did finish with 34 tackles and 4 sacks. Pitoitua was signed to help bolster the run defense and Kam Wimbley initially lost playing time to him. The Titans run defense however wasn’t very good. By the last part of the season it was clear that wasn’t successful and the two were splitting snaps almost evenly. To be fair, a new coaching staff could mean a system change from their base 4-3 to a base 3-4 but I doubt he would be back with the original staff.
Like Pitoitua, Antonio Johnson was brought in on a one year deal and ended up playing pretty well in rotation. He started a lot of games when Sammie Lee Hill was out and provided some bulk along the defensive line. Even with the former coaches, you have to wonder if he did enough to merit a return. While I thought he did okay, it seems likely he will be looking for a job elsewhere.
Center Rob Turner had a very rocky start to his tenure in Tennessee after somehow winning the job over Fernando Velasco in training camp. The Titans were forced to move on to fourth round pick Brian Schwenke in Week 7. Turner isn’t likely to be back unless he is a backup. He also ended up on injured reserve. He shouldn’t be in their plans.
Mike Otto was a quality backup who is a swing lineman and can play both tackle and guard but he battled injuries this year and it appears his knees are shot. With a new coaching staff on the horizon it is unlikely he will return.
Chris Spencer is an interesting player to ponder. He is a veteran swing lineman who can play center as well as both guard positions. He is definitely a player I would look at bringing back. The Titans new coaching staff might think otherwise however.
Kevin Matthews is the son of former offensive line coach Bruce Matthews. He spent the year on and off the roster depending on the status of other offensive lineman particularly David Stewart and Mike Otto. He is unlikely to return.
Kenny Britt’s issues are well known and he ended the season on the inactive list. He won’t be back with the Titans.
Damian Williams was a wide receiver I thought the Titans might bring back. With a new coaching staff it isn’t very likely but he does bring talent and return ability. He should find a job elsewhere if he doesn’t return to the Titans.
I didn’t understand the Kevin Walter signing and I still don’t. Also, how did he stay on the PUP list without going on injured reserve? In any event, he has longstanding back issues and could be done in the league.
Marc Mariani was a good return guy before multiple injuries sidelined his career with the Titans. He is unlikely to return with a new coaching staff. I wonder how much interest he will draw from other teams given his injury history.
Jackie Battle was an upgrade at the third running back spot over Jamie Harper and performed generally well. The new Titans coaching staff could look at him but it seems likely they might want their own players too. He is probably looking for a new home as well.
Rusty Smith was a Mike Heimerdinger protege who stuck around as the 3rd quarterback following the drafting of Jake Locker. With the Tyler Wilson signing, and very little reason to keep him, it seems likely he too will be gone.
Leon Washington was signed in Week 11 to help repair a return game that was struggling badly. He finished the year with 481 kick return yards averaging 30.1 yards per return and a long of 95. He had 6 punt returns for 78 yards and averaged 13 yards with a long of 33. You would think there might be mutual interest but Washington will turn 32 in August.
What are your thoughts on the free agents and who you want to return? Post them the comment section.