Friday, March 9, 2012
The Titans should chase Dwight Freeney
By Paul Kuharsky
Never mind Mario Williams.
If the Colts are taking calls and accepting trade offers for Dwight Freeney, the Titans should pick up the phone.
He’s 32, and that can be scary. But the guy is a supreme pass-rusher.
Tennessee GM Ruston Webster has spoken of the need for a guy with special pass-rushing skills and an understanding he might need to overpay for one. Williams has those skills, too, of course -- but he’s younger and bigger, and he’ll demand a bigger contract and a different kind of competition for his services. He also has at least a bit of a durability question.
Because this could be a precursor to a release, start by offering your second-round pick. But ask the Colts not make a move without checking in. Pray they don’t care about dealing him within the division.
Get permission to negotiate with him in advance of the swap, and draw up a three- or four-year deal for him.
Then, as you play the game, be willing to give up No. 20 this year -- or your first-round pick next season, if you’re certain you will be better and it will be a worse pick.
Freeney is worth the 20th pick and big money, provided you can strike a contract deal.
That’s a move that would amount to the Titans saying they are about right now, not 2014. That’s when a first-round defensive end picked at the end of April will likely be ready to be a consistent factor -- if he emerges as a top-level pass-rusher at all.
This is not a great defensive end class.
The odds are against getting an immediate impact rusher at No. 20.
Meanwhile, Freeney is a matchup nightmare whose spin move and quickness are incredibly difficult to slow. He’ll always draw a double, making life easier for everyone else on the line.
And the pressure he brings will make each of the other 10 guys on the field better.
Be bold. Back off the get-bigger philosophy for this guy. Get on the phone.