Long's Re-Signing Improves Pass Rush
Other roster moves also made
Although he wouldn't have been a starter, defensive tackle Rien Long was sorely missed last year. Long spent the entire season on Injured Reserve after an Achilles' tendon injury in training camp.
It was to be Long's contract year and he was of course disappointed he didn't get the chance to earn a nice contract as an unrestricted free agent this year.
Long re-signed with the Titans Friday, which immediately increases the probability of having a stronger pass rush this year. Before his injury he was without question the best pass-rushing DT on the roster.
Since D-line coach Jim Washburn believes in rotating all of his players (except Kyle Vanden Bosch) in and out of the action, the Titans will benefit from the strategy of playing Albert Haynesworth on expected running downs and inserting Long in passing situations. I'd like to see Long on the field for every defensive third-and-long.
Re-signing Long was one of the items on my wish list of things for new GM Mike Reinfeldt to do.
Other items on my list were partially accomplished when Reinfeldt offered contracts to UFA WRs Drew Bennett and Bobby Wade and DT Robaire Smith. All are now testing the waters in the free agent market. I would prioritize them as Smith, Bennett, and then Wade, in that order of importance. Hopefully at least Smith and Bennett will re-sign, although there are indications Bennett may sign with St. Louis.
In related news, it appears the Titans will now be forced to release RB Travis Henry to avoid paying him an $8.3 million roster bonus which will be due Monday. Henry's comeback performance of 1,211 rushing yards last season triggered the provision for the bonus. Reinfeldt and Henry's agent have been in negotiations for a new contract but have not yet reached an agreement. I'm hoping Reinfeldt can eventually get the deal done and re-sign Henry before he signs elsewhere.
Also re-signed were UFA reserves LB LeVar Woods and T Seth Wand. KVB called Woods the best special teamer he ever played with (at Arizona). Wand probably won't see the field unless there are injuries on the O-line and will have difficulty making the final 53-man roster. He'll compete with Daniel Loper for the backup tackle job.
Reinfeldt declined to release the details of any of the contracts.