What will the market bear as free agency begins?
That appears to be the big questions with free agents across the NFL, and in particular here at home with the Tennessee Titans.
As the clock ticks toward midnight Friday, the Titans currently don't appear close to a deal with any of their 12 remaining unrestricted free agents.
The belief is that Titans general manager Mike Reinfeldt has set what he believes is fair market value for each player the team has interest in re-signing and is more than willing to allow the players to go out and see for themselves if the number Reinfeldt has in mind is really in line or not with the price the players and their agents are set on.
It is all but a certainty that Albert Haynesworth will test the market, and apparently will see if a team like Tampa Bay, Washington or someone else will make him the highest-paid defensive player in the league.
And while the Titans have said they are prepared to stay in the running, it would be an out-of-the-norm surprise for them to make Haynesworth the top-paid defender in the NFL. Despite what the Titans have said about wanting to keep Haynesworth in recent days, it now appears that his return would be something of a long shot.
As for quarterback Kerry Collins, the Titans have said they would be willing to match any offer he receives on the open market. The Collins camp is believed to be waiting on Arizona quarterback Kurt Warner to set the market, given that they are in similar situations, as veteran starters at the end of their current deals.
Warner, who has said he wants to stay in Arizona, has yet to sign the deal the Cardinals have offered that is reportedly in the $10-12 million range.
While Collins will slot in underneath whatever Warner winds up with, there is the belief that he could be seeking at least $8 million per season in a new deal.
The gamble there, of course, is to find a team in need of a veteran starter. Assuming Warner eventually re-signs in Arizona, that market took a hit when Minnesota agreed to a trade for Sage Rosenfels, leaving only the Titans and New York Jets as possibilities among teams ready to contend.
Another Titans free agent whose situation is interesting is receiver Brandon Jones. He and the Titans were believed to be far apart in talks, and he will test the market. While Jones could be a receiver on the rise (a career-high 41 catches), the free agent wide receiver market has been flooded with cap casualties like Marvin Harrison, Drew Bennett, D.J. Hackett, Joey Galloway, Ike Hilliard and Laveranues Coles in recent days. Will that drive Jones' price down?
As for the Titans remaining free agents, all are role players looking for either a bigger payday or a better opportunity for playing time. Some of those free agents, like Vincent Fuller and Chris Carr, are valuable to the Titans and will be priorities. Others like Reynaldo Hill, Daniel Loper and Eric King are probably more interested in opportunities elsewhere.