Crumpler expected to choose Monday; Titans still in hunt

Sunday, March 2, 2008 at 5:56pm

The Tennessee Titans will know sometime Monday if they have made their first successful foray into the 2008 free agent market.

Tight end Alge Crumpler will decide between the Titans, the Seattle Seahawks, and a third unnamed team, reported to be the Buffalo Bills, as to where he will sign.

“The Titans are still squarely in the mix,” agent James Williams said. “Alge will make his decision today. Who knows? He could come to Tennessee.”

Crumpler, 30, met with Titans officials last week and passed a physical there, though there were some concerns about his knee by officials in Tennessee.

Also, the Seahawks were said to have had concerns about Crumpler’s knee, and they are also strapped with limited cap space, unlike the Titans, who had roughly $40 million to spend before franchising Albert Haynesworth and tendering their restricted free agents.

The Titans need a tight end more now than they did earlier, as Ben Hartsock agreed to a four-year, $9 million deal with the Atlanta Falcons, leaving the Titans after one-and-a-half seasons.

The Titans had wanted to keep Hartsock, who was their primary on-the-line blocking tight end, but allowed him to explore unrestricted free agency where he landed with the Falcons.

Hartsock, whom the Titans claimed off waivers from Indianapolis in 2006, is the second player to leave Tennessee via free agency. Defensive tackle Randy Starks signed a five-year deal with the Miami Dolphins on Friday.

In addition to Hartsock, Titans free agent tight end Ben Troupe continues to attract attention on the open market.

Troupe continues to make the rounds, adding the New Orleans Saints to his list of potential suitors, while the Tennessee Titans continue to take the patient path in free agency.

Troupe already had visits scheduled with the Buffalo Bills and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The former second-round pick of the Titans had 55 receptions in 2004, but caught just 21 passes the past two seasons with the club.

“Ben is hot right now,” agent Joel Segal said. “He’s had three clubs schedule visits.”

Segal also represents wide receiver Bryant Johnson of Arizona, believed to be the Titans’ top target in the wake of Bernard Berrian signing with the Minnesota Vikings Saturday.

Johnson had 46 catches for the Cardinals in 2007 while playing as a third receiver behind Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin. Johnson is spending the weekend visiting the Buffalo Bills.

However, the Titans had yet to contact Segal about a Johnson visit as of Sunday afternoon, nor have they made any overtures to D.J. Hackett, another free agent receiver believed to be high on their radar.

“We’ve had some indications from them that they would be willing go do something, we sure think there’s a need there for them at the position, but so far we’ve not heard anything from them,” said Hackett’s agent Tom Mills. “There’s only a few teams that are kind of sitting the first weekend out and letting the overpaying go by, and maybe that’s what they’re doing. We’re still thinking that Tennessee is one of the teams that makes sense for D.J, but they haven’t started the process yet.”

Hackett had 28 receptions for Seattle in 2007, but missed time with an injury.

Ex-Titan Justin McCareins, also a player Tennessee has had interest in in the past, had not yet heard from the team.

As for other Titans free agents looking elsewhere, defensive ends Travis LaBoy and Antwan Odom were both drawing interest from Arizona. LaBoy also visited Cleveland, which appeared to be very interested, and cancelled a visit to New Orleans in favor of the Cardinals.

Odom has drawn the attention of the Cincinnati Bengals, while guard Jacob Bell was reported in St. Louis to be scheduling a visit with the Rams.

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