Many Titans getting ready to roam free

Tuesday, January 5, 2010 at 10:21pm
Vanden Bosch

Hope everyone got a good last look at the 2009 Tennessee Titans on Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks, because as the calendar turned on a new year, it also turned on the future team roster.

In regards to what may happen with many players, as many as 17, or roughly a third of the 53-man roster, will be eligible for free agency in one form or another.

So the 2010 version of the Titans may look significantly different from the one that walked off the field Sunday in Seattle.

Of course, a lot hinges on what happens with the collective bargaining agreement between the league and the NFL Players Association. Currently, 2010 looms as an uncapped year regarding player salaries, and it precedes an anticipated work stoppage in 2011 — unless a new deal is approved.

And if no new deal is reached by March, six of the 17 Titans who are free agents will only be restricted free agents. If by chance a new collective bargaining agreement is forged, all 17 players would enter the free-agent market as unrestricted free agents.

“For me, it’s not unsettling. My individual situation will work itself out,” said Titans center Kevin Mawae, who doubles as the president of the NFLPA. “As it pertains to the collective bargaining agreement, there’s nothing I can do about that, other than to be 'in the know' from the union standpoint. But as far as how it affects my contract, I’ve got no control over it.”

Free agency really is a double-edged sword for professional athletes. Some players will enter the market and find lucrative deals awaiting them. Others face a less certain future, thanks to age, injuries or just bad luck.

Just ask Titans linebacker Keith Bulluck, who is scheduled to hit the market for the first time in his 10-year career, but had that dream wrecked by a knee injury three weeks ago. Now, his future and open market value are certainly less clear than they were just a month ago.

And what of Kyle Vanden Bosch, who has emerged as a locker room leader since coming here as a free agent in 2005? At 31, he, too, is at a crossroads with the Titans regarding his future.

“I’ve thought about it, but I’m not making a bigger deal out of it than it is hopefully,” he said. “The ideal situation is that I finish my career here and play here for a few more years. But that’s not the way this business always works.”

Ah, yes, the business end of the game. It’s the part that fans sometimes don’t see or don’t want to see. It can be an ugly by-product of pro football's glory and fame.

Titans fans have found that out over the years, watching fan favorites like Eddie George, Steve McNair, Derrick Mason, Samari Rolle and a host of others shown the door in unceremonious fashion.

“There comes a time in his career when a player has to make a decision and teams have to make a decision, and I guess we’re there,” Vanden Bosch said of his situation. “I’ll deal with those decisions and continue to deal with this decision in due time.”

But due time is looming for those 17 Titans players in the coming weeks — and what the future holds for them is anyone's guess.

Among the unrestricted free agents:

Eugene Amano: He's the starting left guard, but the Titans have Leroy Harris waiting in the wings to replace either him or Mawae. The choice probably comes to an either/or between Amano and Mawae.

Keith Bulluck: The veteran linebacker has had no contact from the Titans about an extension. The franchise tag was possible before he tore his ACL. The best thing here would be for the10-year vet and the Titans to work out a one-year, incentive-laden deal.

Alge Crumpler: Tight end has been a valuable locker room presence and good blocker. “I’m definitely going to continue to play, without question,” he said. The question becomes how much the Titans value him over Craig Stevens and Jared Cook, youngsters who are waiting in the wings.

Nick Harper: At 35, injuries and age have taken a toll this year. A stand-up guy and solid pro, but probably won’t be back.

Craig Hentrich: He nearly retired last year. A calf injury landed him on injured reserve, and he probably hangs it up.

Rod Hood: Nice mid-season pickup, who would be a good stopgap starter opposite Cortland Finnegan, barring a big off-season jump from Ryan Mouton or Jason McCourty.

Kevin Kaesviharn: Another mid-season addition, who served as a backup safety and special-teamer, but has a role the Titans generally use on younger players.

Jevon Kearse: His October benching was a tell-tale sign that Kearse probably won’t be back as a Titan, although he says he wants to play next season.

Kevin Mawae: Valued locker room leader, but at 38, will the Titans sign him to an extension instead of the younger Amano? One way or another Harris is a starter in 2010.

Donnie Nickey: Special teams captain has been here since 2003, making him one of the longest tenured Titans.

Kyle Vanden Bosch: Veteran defensive end’s numbers aren’t what they were a couple of years ago, but his attitude and work ethic might entice the Titans to keep him around.

For the restricted free agents (if there is no new CBA in place):

Dave Ball: A one-time street free agent has become a decent piece in the defensive line rotation, as he can play both end and tackle.

Tony Brown: Another former street free agent who has blossomed into the Titans best defensive tackle. Should be a priority this off-season.

Bo Scaife: Tight end was franchised last off-season and if he is restricted, will almost certainly be a Titan again in 2010.

Stephen Tulloch: With Bulluck coming off injuries and free agency looming, plus David Thornton’s season shortened by injury, Tulloch is the mainstay of the linebacker corps. Keeping him is a must.

Kevin Vickerson: Defensive tackle didn’t make the big splash the Titans had hoped for. Still, he could be brought back at a bargain rate.

LenDale White: Running back is the forgotten man with Chris Johnson’s heroics, and will look elsewhere for a bigger role, regardless of his free agent status.


13 Comments on this post:

By: dargent7 on 1/6/10 at 6:14

At a final 8-8 record, who cares? Let 'em all go. Hanesworth was a bust in Cincinnatti. Since VY came to Nashville, it's always, "he's maturing, growing, developing". How KC could go 0-6 at the start after last year's performance, is beyond me. Now, he's out. People are asking for Fisher's head. What's the deal with this state?

By: TITAN1 on 1/6/10 at 6:23

VY has proven he is a very good qb. The future is bright with VY and CJ in the backfield. The o-line is one of the best.I think the defense will be even stronger with Cecil having a year under his belt.

By: TitansFan035 on 1/6/10 at 7:38

Men out of all these free agents mentioned above, the priorities should be, K.V.B, not as many sacks as last year ,but he is a non stopping machine and also a role model for the youngster in the locker. Bulluck ,we have to check the knee status. Tony Brown, maybe a 2 yera deal or something like that but he is a keeper. Ball and Vickerson, can be brought back for depht and probably cheap. Rod Hood, definitely proved he can cover and play keeper. Alge Cumpler not sure, main job was blocking this year, hate to see him go but the youngster should be ready to fill that position. Scaife we should try to keep him at a good deal if possible. Mawae, same as Crumpler, hate to see him leave but Harris is ready and he has proven he is, Amano we need to keep him! Tully keeper! The rest i say bye,bye busters!

By: wayneCaluger on 1/6/10 at 8:17

Up until the last game I was impressed with Hood in pass protection, but that is half of the equation. Last game Hood didn't tackle making three half-ass attempts that I saw. Coverage is one thing, but on screens and run plays he has to make tackles

By: jwk6179 on 1/6/10 at 8:52

LenDale White has stated publically that he whats to go somewhere else where he can be the feature back, ss the only way he is back is if no other team wants him. I think the Titans will have to sign Bo Scaife for several years in order to retain his services. If they put the "Franchise Tag" on him again this year, I think you are doing more harm than good in hoping to re-sign him long term. I think Jevon Kearse need to go ahead and hang it up. And I don't think Kevin Mawae nor Alge Crumpler will be back, either, (Mawae because of age and his position as head of the Players Union and Crumpler because of Stevens, Scaife and Cook being on the roster, they won't carry 4 TEs).

By: TitansFan035 on 1/6/10 at 9:05

Hey Wayne,
Prior to this past weekend game, Rod Hood was inactive for like 6 games in da bench not doing anything but watching Harper get torched! Yoy can expect him to come in and play perfect on his first game back from da bench, he probably did better than Harper on his best day! I say let him get his feet wet and he can be a good corner for us next year!!

By: TITAN1 on 1/6/10 at 9:34

Kearse has always been one of my favorites. His jersey was the first one I ever had, got it back in 99. But, I think he is done and wish him well. I don't blame Lendale for wanting to be the #1 on another team and he might get that chance. I agree that we can't put the tag on Bo again. Cook is the one I am looking forward to watching. He has a lot of talent. Not sure about Hood. Changes coming up and hopefully it will be for the better.

By: richgoose on 1/6/10 at 12:20

These fellows are no different than other gladiators. "They come and they go."

By: McCormickFan on 1/6/10 at 12:27

By: TITAN1 on 1/6/10 at 6:23
VY has proven he is a very good qb. The future is bright with VY and CJ in the backfield. The o-line is one of the best.I think the defense will be even stronger with Cecil having a year under his belt.

Must be a different VY than Vince Young Titan1 ...8 and 8 is all we will ever be with him - that is unless someone breaks Chris Johnsons leg then we're 3 and 13.

More mediocre - but that is what Titans are known for right?

By: TITAN1 on 1/6/10 at 12:37

26-13 as a starter. National media has also taken note. But, to realize that you would have to remove your hate glasses.

By: McCormickFan on 1/6/10 at 1:06

I agree it is great news that National Media has taken note - now maybe we can unload him soon as Uncle Bud is no longer calling the shots......If he can just continue to fall off the bench with unexplained injuries when he's not playing well then the rest of the country will not see how BAD he is! it's great that he is maturing, growing whatever but his football abilities are what the fans are concerned about - not the fact that he immaturely tries to pass off Pops bachelor pad as his own!

By: wayneCaluger on 1/6/10 at 1:54

Prior to this past weekend game, Rod Hood was inactive for like 6 games in da bench not doing anything but watching Harper get torched! Well before Harper got hurt Hood was sitting at home waiting for the phone to ring. He stepped and played three games getting three interceptions. Unlike waiting for the phone to ring Hood was on the scout team, so he should not have been so rusty that he couldn't tackle. On the screen pass the guy almost ran over Hood. So he has good hands and good playing the ball, perhaps he would be better suited playing wide receiver, fielding punts and kickoff's. If not missing at least 3 open field tackles he may want to audition for Dancing with the Stars. Even the announcers were commenting on how bad the Sea Hawks were picking on Hood.

No wonder the Browns (man here is a team that needs help everywhere) and Bears cut him this year (3 days with the Bears). He has gone from the Eagles (4 years) and Cards (Super Bowl last year) and cannot make it with the Browns!

The good news for the day, Grandpa Bud would not give Houston permission to talk to Offensive Line coach Mike Munchak sparing the Titans a nose dive on that side of the ball. Wish he had done that last year with Jim Schwartz. Under Schwartz the Titans were the 7th best defense in the NFL, this year 27th with single players on some teams making more sacks than the Titans as a team.

Had we lost Munchak I'm sure OL next year would have taken a nose dive. Gramps seemed to have learned a lesson saying Munchak is not going anywhere, we need him. As for Chucky, if his mind worked as fast as his mouth he might make it someday as a Defensive Coordinator. Until then he is a has been 4 year NFL player whose only claim to fame is a dirty player and hot head, not a smart player with a cool head. A Troy Polamalu or Ray Lewis he was not and the 15 yard personal foul penalties is the way Chucky played the game. Recurring concussions is the reason his career was only 5 seasons with 3 teams.

By: TITAN1 on 1/6/10 at 3:32

All naysayers look at the glass half empty. They are lazy when it comes to using their brain.