Titans strike out in Manning sweepstakes

March, 19, 2012
3/19/12
12:12
PM ET

Well, they gave it a shot.

The Tennessee Titans lost out in the Peyton Manning sweepstakes.

It would be great if the Titans could now return to the plan formulated before owner Bud Adams forced a detour into the quarterback market. But many pieces of the plan have evaporated.

They wouldn't have matched the kind of money the Buffalo Bills will pay defensive end Mario Williams. They watched John Abraham return to Atlanta. Centers Scott Wells and Chris Myers are off the market.

Now, they should be players for Kamerion Wimbley. They need to gauge what's going on with Dwight Freeney. They need to seek any sort of viable pass-rusher.

They've added guard Steve Hutchinson, who will help Chris Johnson just as much with Matt Hasselbeck or Jake Locker going forward as he could have helped Manning.

I'm not sure the Titans will find the pass-rusher they desperately need in remaining free agency or the draft, but they'll give it their best shot.

As for Hasselbeck, the presumptive opening day starter: He's a big boy. He understood that Bud Adams wanted Manning. He understands who Manning is. The team kept him in the loop.

It didn't make a change, so things revert. I don't think he was insulted, not in any way that would linger or be an issue going forward.

Yes, the owner and the city are now dealing with disappointment. But just a couple of weeks ago, Manning wasn't a real possibility for the franchise. Then hopes were higher than the Music City's Batman Building. Now he is a dream that flamed out.

Life goes on.

The Titans would have been better with him.

They may still be able to challenge for the division without him.

Paul Kuharsky | email

ESPN Tennessee Titans reporter

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