The Tennessee Titans have cut their losses with the recent deals for safety Bernard Pollard and running back Jackie Battle.
Those are two players scheduled to become free agents who won’t be going anywhere.
A week before the signing period, though, 15 players under contract with the Titans last season remain unsigned and destined for free agency. Barring any deals in the interim, those players may begin to negotiate will other teams beginning Saturday and sign as early as next Tuesday.
Players who have been starters and important parts of the team:
• Kenny Britt, wide receiver (pictured): A first-round draft pick who has delivered some true high points but not near enough of them. It’s clear both sides need a fresh start.
• Alterraun Verner, cornerback: His well-deserved Pro Bowl invitation last fall probably means he will earn more than the Titans are willing to pay given that they have youngsters in line to take his place.
LONG-TIME ROLE PLAYERS
Players who have been with the team for an extended period but never developed into starters or regular contributors:
• Damian Williams, wide receiver: A second-round pick, he probably should have pushed Nate Washington aside by this point but never came close to doing so.
• Mike Otto, tackle: A solid backup who was a favorite of former coach Mike Munchak. He has battled his own injury issues in recent seasons despite limited playing time.
• Marc Mariani, receiver/returner: He has been a better return man than anyone expected but never as good a receiver as everyone hoped. Change in coaches lessens his chances to stay.
• Rusty Smith, quarterback: His one start was a disaster and he never got the chance to prove he could do better.
• Kevin Matthews, center/guard: It is fair to wonder how much his last name contributed to the number of opportunities he’s had with the Titans in recent seasons.
COME AND GO
Players who came last year and could be gone already:
• Ropati Pitoitua, defensive end: His size and ability were perfect fits for what last year’s defensive coaches wanted but might not work with the new staff’s approach.
• Leon Washington, return specialist: He stabilized a position that was a liability for most of last season but commands too big a salary for his role.
• Rob Turner, center: He provided attitude and experience in the middle of the offensive line until rookie Brian Schwenke was ready. Now he’s expendable.
• Chris Spencer, center/guard: He was an insurance plan in the event any of last season’s major changes to the interior of the line didn’t pan out, which they did.
• Antonio Johnson, defensive tackle: He provided valuable depth and even started a few times and might be coming back if not for the coaching changes.
WE HARDLY KNEW YE
Veteran players who contributed little, if anything, because of injuries: • Zac Diles, linebacker: Brought back last season as a stop-gap but was out of action just as quickly:
• Kevin Walter, wide receiver: A back injury kept him from providing a useful bit of depth and experience, or possibly more.
• Greg Jones, fullback: Was he even on the team last season?