After watching five players leave in the first four days of free agency, the Tennessee Titans moved into high gear in that regard on Wednesday.
The Titans hosted five players on Wednesday and are scheduled to bring in at least three more for visits today.
Highlighting the visits are a couple of former Titans whom the team has interest in at need positions. Defensive end Jevon Kearse, who was a three-time Pro Bowl player for the team and the 1999 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, visited Baptist Sports Park on Wednesday.
Wide receiver Justin McCareins will return to the Titans complex today to talk with team officials.
Other players in Wednesday include Dallas Cowboys running back Julius Jones, Oakland Raiders cornerback Chris Carr and Indianapolis Colts defensive end Josh Thomas and guard Jake Scott.
The Titans will host McCareins and defensive linemen Ellis Wyms and Marques Thomas today.
Regarding Kearse, the Titans are in need of help at defensive end after losing both Antwan Odom and Travis LaBoy in free agency on Monday. Kearse left after the 2003 season for a $66 million free agent deal with the Philadelphia Eagles, but was released last week as a cap cut after four disappointing and injury-riddled seasons.
Defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth, for one, would like to see his former line mate back in Tennessee.
“I think it would be good if they brought Jevon in,” said Haynesworth. “We need to get somebody in here to replace the people we’ve lost.”
Kearse had 47.5 sacks in five years with the Titans, but just 22 in four years in Philly.
Thomas, 26, is regarded as a high-effort player, who backed up Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis with the Colts.
“With the type of defensive line they have in there, I think he could get eight to 10 sacks,” his agent Alan Herman said. “We’re serious about them. We’ll see [if they’re serious about us]. I think it could be a good fit for him if they’re interested. ”
Wyms, 29, who has played at Tampa Bay and Seattle, could be a valuable swing guy for Tennessee as he can play both inside and outside.
“He has played some end on first and second downs and slides inside on third down,” agent Brian Levy said.
As for McCareins, he first blossomed under offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger’s system during Heimerdinger’s first stint in Tennessee. The two then spent the 2005 season with the New York Jets.
McCareins’ best year with the Titans came in 2003 when he caught 47 passes for 813 yards and seven touchdowns. His best year with the Jets was in 2004 as he caught 56 passes there.
McCareins, 29, was a fourth-round pick of the Titans in 2001 and stayed with the club for three years before being traded to the Jets for a second-round draft pick. He was released at the start of free agency.
“They said they were interested in bringing him in and giving him a physical and letting him see a lot of familiar faces,” agent Cliff Brady said. “We’ll see where it goes from there.”
As reported in Wednesday edition of The City Paper, the Titans were expected to take a look at Jones as they try to find a suitable running back to pair with LenDale White. Chris Brown, who held that role last season, is an unrestricted free agent and likely to play elsewhere next season.
Jones rushed for 588 yards on 164 carries while splitting time with Marion Barber with the Cowboys in 2007. His best season came in 2006, when he rushed for 1,084 yards on 267 carries.
Carr is intriguing as a restricted free agent. He came into the league with the Raiders as an undrafted, and was tendered at the lowest $927,000 rate, meaning there would be no compensation if the Titans could wrest him away the same as they did linebacker Ryan Fowler a year ago.
Carr, from Boise State, is also a kick returner as well as a backup cornerback. He entered the league as an undrafted free agent and would not require compensation if signed.
Carr averaged 22.5 yards per kickoff return and 6.5 per punt for Oakland in 2007.
One player who visited Wednesday almost certainly will not be a Titan. According to a league source, Scott and the Titans are too far apart monetarily to be able to strike any sort of deal. The player is already scheduling other visits.