NFL Nation: Bryan Pittman

AFC South: Free-agency primer

March, 4, 2010
3/04/10
9:12
AM ET
Houston Texans

Potential unrestricted free agents: CB Dunta Robinson, WR Kevin Walter, RB Chris Brown, DT Jeff Zgonina, G Chester Pitts, S Brian Russell, S Nick Ferguson, LS Bryan Pittman, LB Chaun Thompson, QB Rex Grossman, LB Khary Campbell, G Tutan Reyes, T Ephraim Salaam, P Matt Turk.

Potential restricted free agents: DL Tim Bulman, S John Busing, OT Rashad Butler, TE Owen Daniels, RB Ryan Moats, S Bernard Pollard, LB DeMeco Ryans, G Chris White.

Franchise player: None.

What to expect: I don’t think the Texans will jump out and make any monumental moves. But by deciding not to tag Robinson they created another hole and saved themselves big dollars. With needs at corner, running back, free safety, interior offensive line and defensive tackle they may have more than they can address in one draft. That means they could jump out for one significant free agent – like they did last year with defensive lineman Antonio Smith -- and maybe another less expensive one or two.

Indianapolis Colts

Potential unrestricted free agents: MLB Gary Brackett, K Matt Stover.

Potential restricted free agents: WR Hank Baskett, S Antoine Bethea, S Melvin Bullitt, OL Dan Federkeil, CB Aaron Francisco, LB Tyjuan Hagler, CB Marlin Jackson, CB Tim Jennings, DT Antonio Johnson, OT Charlie Johnson, LB Freddy Keiaho, DT Dan Muir, CBPR T.J. Rushing.

Franchise player: None.

What to expect: Brackett is priority one and the team has indicated a plan to pay him as an upper-echelon guy. The restricted list includes a lot of key guys who will remain big factors next year. Indy is not a team that looks to bring in many outsiders for big roles and it won’t start now. Bill Polian’s said the Colts will sit back and see how things unfold in the new capless landscape.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Potential unrestricted free agents: DE Reggie Hayward, G Kynan Forney.

Potential restricted free agents: DT Atiyyah Ellison, LB Clint Ingram, DL Greg Peterson.

Franchise player: None.

What to expect: The Jaguars are draft-reliant, but will also shop for bargains in free agency, hoping to plug a couple holes with high-character guys with upside who fit what they are doing. As for a big splash, it’s unlikely based on their recent busts with big-name free agents like Jerry Porter and Drayton Florence and the direction they’ve moved since.

Tennessee Titans

Potential unrestricted free agents: DE Kyle Vanden Bosch, C Kevin Mawae, LB Keith Bulluck, TE Alge Crumpler, CB Nick Harper, CB Rod Hood, DE Jevon Kearse, S Kevin Kaesviharn.

Potential restricted free agents: DE Dave Ball, DT Tony Brown, TE Bo Scaife, LB Stephen Tulloch, DT Kevin Vickerson, RB LenDale White.

Franchise player: None.

What to expect: The Titans will undergo a youth movement, especially on defense where Vanden Bosch and Bulluck, who’s recovering from ACL repair, are going to be allowed to walk. Mawae been told his only chance to return is as a backup at a backup price. Brown, Scaife and Tulloch are important guys they’ll want to retain. Beyond that, expect mostly bargain shopping.

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Rams have no interest in former Giants receiver Plaxico Burress. Miklasz: "When new head coach Steve Spagnuolo was hired, he stressed the four pillars of his leadership, the four pillars that would rebuild the franchise: (1) Faith; (2) Character; (3) Core Values; (4) Team. Does that sound like Plaxico Burress to you?" Burress could be facing jail time.

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says bouncing between nose tackle and three-technique tackle hasn't helped first-round choice Adam Carriker. Thomas: "Carriker's first two seasons were slightly disappointing, but in his defense he was bouncing around [from] NT to UT. He's more suited for UT, or 3-technique, it seems, and if he's left there, he might come around pretty quickly. [Clifton] Ryan has been pretty solid in the middle. The rest of the rotation is pretty much up in the air at this point. Rookie Darell Scott probably will be in there, and Orien Harris, too. As for [Claude] Wroten, I expect the Rams to release him as soon as he's reinstated. Of course, I could be wrong about that. But he doesn't seem to fit the Spags profile."

Bill Coats of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Spagnuolo is stressing penalty reduction. Also: "Larry Grant worked with the first unit at strongside LB on Tuesday. That spot is open following the release of veteran Pisa Tinoisamoa. With second-round draftee James Laurinaitis still with the No. 2 unit, Chris Draft was at MLB with the ones."

Mike Swift of the San Jose Mercury News says the 49ers have reached agreement with Santa Clara on financing for a new stadium. Mayor Patricia Mahan: "I believe we have negotiated as far as we can, and we are ready to bring it to the public." The public could get a look at the deal next week.

Ray Ratto of the San Francisco Chronicle sizes up the 49ers' stadium efforts this way:"In this corner, there is Jed York, born to the purple and working on behalf of mom and dad to get the Santa Clara deal moving. In the other, there is Carmen Policy, Eddie DeBartolo's old wing man, working on behalf of Lennar, the folks who are trying to make the 49ers a new home at Hunters Point if the Santa Clara thing collapses. And in the middle -- leaning toward Jed -- is Eddie, who is about to be inducted into the 49ers' Hall of Fame, largely on Jed's initiative. We're sure the development is entirely coincidental and meritorious."

Gwen Knapp of the San Francisco Chronicle says the 49ers' other receivers seem to be embracing first-round choice Michael Crabtree, viewing him more as a threat to opponents than to their own playing time. If veteran Isaac Bruce is concerned, it's not showing. He has skipped the voluntary workouts to this point.

John Crumpacker of the San Francisco Chronicle says 49ers players keep getting hurt during organized team activities (OTAs). Crumpacker: "The early diagnosis on [Walt] Harris was a sprained knee, with further evaluation to come. The 49ers are not deep at cornerback. Behind Harris on the depth chart is Tarell Brown and after him, there's Shawntae Spencer, who is coming off a 2008 knee injury that cost him 14 games."

Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat says the best-case scenario for Alex Smith and the 49ers would be for Shaun Hill to open the 2009 season as the starter. I think that depends on how the quarterbacks look during the offseason, specifically during the exhibition games. Is there a chance Smith wins the job and plays well for 16 games? Also, just to be clear, the 49ers also have no interest in Burress.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says the 49ers' depth at receiver is being tested with Bruce away, Crabtree rehabilitating a foot injury and Jason Hill suffering a sprained ankle in practice.

Bob McManaman of the Arizona Republic says new Cardinals running back Jason Wright is embracing the opportunity in Arizona. Wright: "It's an offense that puts players in the best position to win. It's an attacking offense, aggressive and it's not reactive. I love that about this offense. It's forward moving and it's very efficient. In fact, I was amazed during our first minicamp at how many completions there were and how few dropped balls and mental errors I saw. That's really rare. But they've got something really crisp going on."

Also from McManaman: Karlos Dansby expresses confidence in the Cardinals' ability to reach a long-term agreement with him.

Carrie Watters of the Arizona Republic details Arizona's failed bid to land the 2013 Super Bowl. New Orleans was more than a sentimental favorite.

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com says Kurt Warner, Larry Fitzgerald, Adrian Wilson, Sean Morey, Kenny Iwebema, Bertrand Berry and Chike Okeafor did not attend OTAs Monday. Urban expects them to show up later.

Revenge of the Birds' Hawkwind sizes up Cardinals sixth-round choice Will Davis. Hawkwind: "It wouldn't be surprising at all, given the current depth at OLB, for Davis to spend the season on the practice squad. He has zero experience in space [and] his transition to OLB will be more difficult than second round pick Cody Brown. When you add in that he also needs to get stronger and possibly drop some weight, a year on the practice squad seems to make sense. If he does find his way onto the roster, it'll likely be because he's made a name for himself on special teams."

Gregg Bell of the Associated Press says Bryan Pittman's agent confirmed the long-snapper's contract agreement with the Seahawks.

Clare Farnsworth of Seahawks.com says vice president Joe Biden, speaking at Wake Forest's commencement, pointed to Seahawks linebacker Aaron Curry as reason for optimism. Biden: "As a student of history, it's the history behind me and the people in front of me that give me such a degree of optimism. ... It's about Aaron Curry, a scrawny freshman linebacker recruited by only two schools, who worked his rear off, became a Top 5 pick, and is walking off this stage into an opposing NFL backfield. Aaron, I heard you wanted to go to law school -- you were considering going to graduate school. I also heard that your fellow draftees have taken up a collection encouraging you to go. So I'm sure there's a scholarship there if you want it."

John Morgan of Field Gulls outlines 10 keys for the Seahawks on defense. Darryl Tapp's emergence tops the list.

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Tracking free-agent visits can become a part-time job during the initial rush of free agency. Now that things have settled, I've put together an unofficial list showing where NFC West free agents have visited and which players the division's teams have visited with.

These visits fall into four basic categories:

(Read full post)

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

  Hodel

Longtime Cardinals snapper Nathan Hodel has landed with the Patriots not long after Arizona released him. New England announced the signing Tuesday.

We've seen veteran snappers hit the market regularly this offseason. The Broncos released Mike Leach and signed the Patriots' snapper, Lonie Paxton, as an unrestricted free agent. The Texans' Bryan Pittman also hit the unrestricted market.

The Seahawks and Cardinals remain in the market for veteran snappers, although Tyler Schmitt hopes to get another chance with Seattle, Danny O'Neil notes.

Snappers are expendable until you can't replace one. The Seahawks have employed Thomas Gafford, Jared Retkofsky, Derek Rackley, Boone Stutz, Tim Lindsey, Jeff Robinson, Ryan Senser and Schmitt since watching J.P. Darche leave after the 2006 season. They have also brought in Pittman, Mike Schneck, Matt Overton and Joe Maese for tryouts.

Releasing Hodel spared the Cardinals from paying a $200,000 roster bonus this offseason. Hodel has snapped in every game for Arizona since 2002.

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Bryan Burwell of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch contrasts Rams receiver Torry Holt to former Cowboys receiver Terrell Owens. Burwell: "Holt, the 32-year-old seven-time Pro Bowler, has asked the Rams to release him after 10 Hall-of-Fame-worthy seasons. He believes the Rams are going in a new direction and that those long-range plans no longer include him. He didn't preen in front of cameras in a press conference in the driveway of his suburban St. Louis home. He didn't hurl insults at management. What he did is what he has always done since he arrived in St. Louis in 1999. He handled himself with class."

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch provides additional details on Jason Brown's contract with the Rams, noting that the deal can void after four seasons.

Also from Thomas: The Rams' moderate interest in Heath Evans became irrelevant when the fullback signed with the Saints.

Jim Trotter of SI.com picks apart the 49ers' brief courtship with Kurt Warner. Trotter: "The 49ers decision to court Warner was flawed on so many fronts that it's difficult to decide where to begin. For one thing it sent a mixed message to the players, fans and media about the blueprint for the future. [Mike] Singletary, who had the interim tag removed from his job title in December, has spent the last few months creating the impression that he wants a physical, ground-based offense. Then the team brings in a quarterback like Warner, who is at his best using spread formations and throwing the ball around."

Patrick Willis' hit on Brad Smith stands out as the 49ers' hit of the year in a poll of players. This was about as violent as a hit can be within the rules.

John Crumpacker of the San Francisco Chronicle says the 49ers aren't interested in Terrell Owens even though general manager Scot McCloughan told KNBR the door wasn't closed.

Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News describes the 49ers as a jittery franchise after listening to McCloughan on KNBR.

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com relays some information from Larry Fitzgerald's USO tour of the Middle East. The Rams' Will Witherspoon is also part of the group.

Revenge of the Birds' Andrew602 declares Warner the Cardinals' player of the year for 2009. Previously, "Steve Breaston has won Most Improved Player, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie won Rookie of the Year, Karlos Dansby won Defensive Player of the Year."

Clare Farnsworth of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer checks in with Seahawks receiver Nate Burleson following the signing of T.J. Houshmandzadeh. Burleson: "It made me smile. I'm excited about what's going on."

Also from Farnsworth: a quick update on the Seahawks' plans in free agency. John Owens has signed. Justin Griffith and Bryan Pittman are visiting. Jermaine Phillips is off the market.

Updated: Visits of note

March, 5, 2009
3/05/09
12:37
PM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky

A couple visits have come to light:

  • Arizona free-agent cornerback Eric Green will visit with the Titans Thursday, according to Jim Wyatt. He'd be the second corner in town in two days after Justin Miller met with the Titans, who need depth at cornerback.
  • Houston free-agent long snapper Bryan Pittman will meet with Seattle, according to our NFC West maven Mike Sando. The Texans have indicated they won't bring Pittman back. Clark Harris filled in capably at season's end when Pittman was suspended.
  • [Updated 2:50 p.m.] Dallas free-agent linebacker Kevin Burnett is visiting the Texans, reports John McClain. He looks to have appealing versatility and size.

Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky

Our morning tour of the AFC South. Did we miss something good? Please hit the mailbag.

Houston Texans

  • The Texans are looking forward to having Matt Schaub back, writes Megan Manfull.
  • Steve Slaton won AFC Offensive Player of the Week, says John McClain.
  • Bryan Pittman says he's frustrated over a punishment resulting from an innocent mistake, according to Manfull.

Indianapolis Colts

  • Instead of shifting Freddy Keiaho to the middle and playing Tyjuan Hagler on the weakside, the Colts will replace the injured Gary Brackett with Buster Davis, reports Mike Chappell.
  • An Indianapolis woman faces battery charges connected to an alleged assault on Tyjuan Hagler, says Phil Richards.
  • Phillip B. Wilson thinks the Colts have soured on Hagler.
  • Robert Mathis is getting grief over his touchdown celebration dance, writes Richards.

Jacksonville Jaguars

  • Rashean Mathis will be the 10th Jaguars player on IR, reports Vito Stellino.
  • Gene Frenette's report card from Monday night includes and F for coaching.

Tennessee Titans

  • The Titans have had good success against Jamal Lewis in the past, writes Jessica Bliss.
  • Backup QB Vince Young sat out practice because of an infected cuticle on his right thumb, says Jim Wyatt.
  • As Chris Johnson approaches 1,000 yards, his position coach compares him to Tony Dorsett, writes Terry McCormick.
  • Smash and Dash are featured on new T-shirts, says McCormick.

Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky

Our AFC South chat resumes Thursday at 3:00 p.m. You can join us by going here. Two for one discounts on admission, so bring a friend.

One story that touches more than one team: 

Don Banks lists Titans defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz as an A-list candidate for a head-coaching job, gives Gary Kubiak a 35 percent chance of losing his job and doesn't mention Jack Del Rio.

Houston Texans

  • Long-snapper Bryan Pittman is one of six NFL players suspended for using a diuretic, writes Megan Manfull.
  • Matt Schaub is ready to resume work as the Texans' starting quarterback, says John McClain.
  • Houston now has one of the league's best big-play offenses, says McClain.

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

  • While ESPN's Steve Young called the Jaguars "disinterested," Jack Del Rio didn't question his team's desire or effort on Monday night, writes Vito Stellino.
  • Five questions with David Garrard.
  • A Q&A with Derrick Harvey.

Tennessee Titans

  • Albert Haynesworth and Kerry Collins make USA Today's list of long shots for MVP.
  • Five things Jim Wyatt knows as the Titans prepare for the Browns.
  • The weekly column of Carrie Cecil, wife of Titans defensive backs coach Chuck Cecil.

Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky

Let's see what's been written around the division this morning.

It's chat day -- here's where to go at 3 p.m. ET.

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

  • The Colts are on pace for the fourth-lowest per-game rushing average in the league since 1970, writes Mike Chappell.
  • Kelvin Hayden is expected to miss the Steelers game, but Freddy Keiaho and Dante Hughes should be back, according to Phil Richards.
  • Clifton Dawson went on IR and the Colts signed Titans practice squad defensive tackle Antonio Johnson, says Chappell.
  • Tony Dungy's got ties to the Steelers, writes Tom James.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Tennessee Titans

Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky

A modest proposal: Print this page and these links, fold paper in half long ways, insert in back pocket, remove and read in line at your voting location, cheerfully pass time and spread the word about the AFC South Blog as you wait your turn.

Houston Texans

  • Matt Schaub could be out for four weeks, writes John McClain.
  • The Chronicle's report card.
  • Long snapper Bryan Pittman made his case to the league over a pending suspension, according to Megan Manfull.
  • The Texans sent tape of three Vikings hits on their quarterbacks to the league, says McClain.
  • Every loss looks the same, opines Richard Justice.

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Tennessee Titans

  • A perfect team says it can play better, writes Jim Wyatt.
  • An 8-0 start hasn't been a Super Bowl guarantee, according to Clark Judge.
  • Kyle Vanden Bosch could sit out in Chicago as he continues to wait on a groin injury, says Gary Estwick.
  • Wyatt and Estwick have their Tuesday morning back-and-forth.
  • Albert Haynesworth was sad to hear about Phil Fulmer at the University of Tennessee, writes Terry McCormick.

Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky

Let's jog, not sprint, around the division this morning. Or maybe just walk?

Houston Texans

Texans deep snapper Bryan Pittman has tested positive for a banned substance that is a violation of the NFL's steroids policy. If he loses his appeal, he could be suspended for four games, reports John McClain.

Eric Winston and Cedric Benson played a lot of football together growing up, writes Dale Robertson.

Indianapolis Colts

Jake Scott is enjoying life with his new team and is ready to take on his old team, writes Phillip B. Wilson.

Sorting out the details of Peyton Manning's knee surgeries in Mike Chappell's notebook.

Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jaguars and Browns have both come up short of expectations so far, says Michael C. Wright.

Matt Jones said he's waiting on the result of his appeal of a three-game suspension, according to Jim Nasella.

Tennessee Titans

Ron Jaworski thinks the Titans are doing the exactly right thing at quarterback, writes Gary Estwick.

Rob Bironas needs two more field goals to set a new franchise record for consecutive makes, says Jim Wyatt. Also the drum set sent to Chris Johnson was from Martina McBride.

Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky

What's going on in the AFC South? Here's a late-morning rundown.

Houston Texans

  • Gary Kubiak's record through 34 games is exactly the same as Jeff Fisher's. Good stuff from John McClain spelling out why calling for Kubiak's firing is silly.
  • Defensive coordinator Richard Smith is trying to be creative with Mario Williams, writes Dale Robertson.
  • Bryan Pittman's poor long-snapping was one reason Kubiak was a bit reluctant to kick field goals last week, according to Megan Manfull. If it's so bad as to impact what an offense can and can't do, doesn't a change have to be made?
  • Sloppiness had Kubiak concerned, writes Michael C. Wright.
  • The Texans have good history against Jacksonville, says Brooke Bentley of houstontexans.com.

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

  • Offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter was at least part serious when he guaranteed bigger plays from the passing game, writes Vito Stellino.
  • Matt Jones is different, says Tania Ganguli.
  • Reggie Nelson has a bruised knee. It's a relief it's nothing worse, but still has him day-to-day, according to Kyle G. Nelson.

Tennessee Titans

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