- Paul Kuharsky, ESPN Staff Writer
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The money isn’t mine. I’m not certain about what you can afford and what the market will pay when free agency opens on March 13. I’m not positive about your plans and schemes.
But I’ve got a good sense of your team. We've looked at the free-agent list.
And here’s what I’d try to do with your major issues:
1) Let cornerback Cortland Finnegan go. He’s a good player, not a great one. The Titans will miss his feistiness more than his production, and you don’t pay huge dollars for feistiness. He’s not in the ranks of corners worth in the neighborhood of $10 million annually. Let Alterraun Verner join Jason McCourty in the starting lineup. Let Ryan Mouton, Chris Hawkins, Tommie Campbell and a draft pick and/or a mid-range veteran vie for the nickel role. (Mouton would play inside, in other scenarios Verner would move inside.)
2) Let safety Michael Griffin go. He can be a good player, but is far too inconsistent. He’s at his best when those around him are playing well. But at the price he’ll have now, he should be a guy who sets the tone, not a guy who needs it set for him. Look closely at free agents safeties like Tyvon Branch from Oakland, Dashon Goldson from San Francisco and Dwight Lowery from Jacksonville.
3) Pursue Colts defensive end Robert Mathis if he gets to free agency. He’s got a super motor and, while he just turned 31, I’d bet he can play three more good years. Structure a deal so you can get out after two if you have to and look to him to set the tone for your other primary rushers, Derrick Morgan and a draft pick.
4) Sign Philadelphia guard Evan Mathis to replace Jake Scott. Mathis is older than Baltimore’s Ben Grubbs, but will also be less expensive. In seven seasons with Carolina, Miami, Cincinnati and Philadelphia he’s played in 73 games with 37 starts. Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc. says he’s a great fit for Tennessee.
5) Re-sign safety Jordan Babineaux. This appears to be just about done. A rule regarding Babineaux’s previous contract prevents the team from completing a new deal before the start of the new league year. But they could have a deal ready to go on March 13.
6) Offer Jason Jones a contract based on moving him back to defensive tackle, admitting he’s better and more productive inside than out. (They’ve said they still see him as an end, and they aren’t in sync with me on this one at all.)