Titans Lose Bennett and Henry
The St. Louis Rams made Drew Bennett a better offer than Titans general manager Mike Reinfeldt did. Bennett signed a six-year, $30 million contract with the Rams Saturday, leaving the team which was the only one to offer him an opportunity as an undrafted rookie free agent.
Also on Saturday, the Titans released running back Travis Henry to avoid paying him an $8.3 million roster bonus. Reinfeldt said he hopes that Henry will eventually return to the Titans after testing the waters in the free agent marketplace.
Both players were offered new contracts before free agency started on March 2 but declined to accept them, opting for free agency instead.
The moves deal a two-fisted blow to the Titans' offense. Bennett has been their leading receiver for the last three years and Henry was the leading rusher last season.
Bennett will be tougher to replace than Henry.
Third-year player Brandon Jones is now the only healthy proven receiver on the Titans' roster.
Bobby Wade, the second-leading receiver last year, is also an unrestricted free agent. Veteran David Givens is rehabbing from ACL surgery and is not expected to be ready for the start of the season. Courtney Roby and Roydell Williams have been disappointments in their first two years and Jonathan Orr didn't get any playing time his rookie season.
Besides Wade, the Rams' Kevin Curtis and Seahawks' Bobby Engram may be the two best fits available in free agency. Wade was also offered a new contract by Reinfeldt.
Other potential prospects include the Saints' Joe Horn, Eagles' Donte Stallworth, Bengals' Kelley Washington, Patriots' Troy Brown, Falcons' Ashley Lelie, Vikings' Bethel Johnson, and Raiders' Alvis Whited. Some of those players have issues, however, and some don't seem to be good fits. It's not a particularly strong free agent class.
What this means is that there's now more urgency on signing a cornerback or defensive end in free agency to allow the Titans to use one of their first two draft picks for a receiver.
The running back position is less of a concern. Although he didn't do or show much in his rookie season, LenDale White could be inserted into Henry's spot. The Titans drafted him in the second round last year to be their back of the future.