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Monday, March 19, 2012
What if the Titans don't land Manning?

By Paul Kuharsky

If the Tennessee Titans do not land Peyton Manning, will their failed pursuit of him have a lasting effect on the franchise?

The team had a plan for free agency before owner Bud Adams declared the team would chase Manning and try to land him at all costs.

Bud Adams
Titans owner Bud Adams has made signing Peyton Manning the priority, but at what cost?
General manager Ruston Webster wouldn’t have been super active, but odds are he would have done more to this point than signing guard Steve Hutchinson.

The Titans were interested in Mario Williams, though I don’t believe they would have offered the sort of lottery winnings he will collect in Buffalo.

Perhaps, though, the Titans could have lured end John Abraham away from Atlanta. Perhaps they would have been able to land one of the centers they had in for visits -- Chris Myers, who re-signed with Houston, or Scott Wells, who went from Green Bay to St. Louis.

We don’t know where they stand with Kamerion Wimbley, the former Raiders pass-rusher. Maybe they chase him and land him whether they get Manning or not. But it will be hard to make him feel like a top priority while the quarterback question is unsettled.

This is likely to be the last great crop of free agents for some time because of the CBA. The way teams will be mandated to spend and the way contracts for high picks are now structured means more and more teams will make big efforts to lock up their top players before they get near free agency.

When Adams dictated the Titans draft Vince Young third overall in 2006, the decision had long-lasting negative implications for the organization.

I am sure Adams feels like landing Manning will help offset the Young failure.

He may have missed on his beloved Houston native and University of Texas quarterback. But if he lands an all-time great for the final three or four years of his career, he will have pulled a giant fish into his franchise's boat.

But if that fish doesn’t bite on the Titans’ line, will Adams have made another move with long-ranging, negative implications?

Will we go forward wondering about the guys the Titans were unable to chase and sign because their focus was on Manning?