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Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Titans courting more than Peyton Manning

By Paul Kuharsky

The Titans hear a lot of complaints about how they don’t pursue big names in free agency.

Those Tennessee followers should be excited, then, about this report from Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter.

It says the Titans aren’t only interested in Peyton Manning, but free-agent guard Steve Hutchinson and the prize of the class, Houston outside linebacker/defensive end Mario Williams.

Hutchinson could fortify the Titans' interior offensive line. With him in place of Jake Scott on a line that already offered excellent quarterback protection, Tennessee could be an even more attractive destination for Manning.
"Hutchinson would be a good fit in Tennessee," Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc. said. "He's still a strong run-blocker, which is what they need. He's tough, strong and extremely technically sound, but no longer quick, explosive, athletic."

While indications are the Titans are thinking Manning first, I don’t think landing Manning would automatically eliminate them as a possibility for Williams. They could creatively find a way to fit all three, though it certainly wouldn't be easy.

The concern is that a prolonged courtship of Manning means they lose out on Williams and come out with neither.

Manning, Williams and Hutchinson are all represented by the same agency, CAA.

So if the Titans get to contract talks with Tom Condon about the quarterback, they’ll be talking to a guy who will know full well what’s going on with the other two guys. Hopefully that keeps them from losing out on both superstars.

The timetable is the big question now.

If Manning isn't quick to decide, can the Titans land Hutchinson in the meantime? Can they get in the hunt for Williams if they are on hold with Manning? Those are questions that are going to make free agency for the Titans very intriguing.