Traveling at the snail-like pace that we're accustomed to seeing from this franchise at the onset of free agency, the Tennessee Titans have yet to sign anyone since the player movement floodgates opened a few days ago. As the Chicago Bears of the world have been throwing money at UFAs, the Titans have engaged in their more practical, less aggressive approach towards signing new players.
With DE Jason Babin's visit to Nashville today and tomorrow and some mild interest towards fellow veteran DE Marques Douglas, Mike Reinfeldt and Co. have obviously focused upon bringing in some experience at defensive end as they get their feet wet in free agency-palooza 2010.
Without question, the departure of the "Energizer Bunny" to the Motor City and the decline of "The Freak" has put the team in a situation where signing DEs is an immediate priority for a defense that is looking to improve next year. At this very moment, the Titans are painfully thin at the position, which is headed by youngsters William Hayes and Jacob Ford with oft-injured Dave Ball and practice-squadder Eric Bakhtiari behind them.
Signing a player such as Babin or Douglas would provide the Titans with some veteran depth and experience at DE. Babin's a guy that we're somewhat familiar with as he clashed with the Titans for several years after entering the league in 2004 with the Texans. He's got a nice motor and produced 2.5 sacks in limited action with the Eagles last year. Douglas is solid vet who plays the run well and would also serve as a nice piece in the team's DE rotation.
In my opinion, the team's pursuit of a rotational player at DE in free agency may be an indicator of what direction the team could be headed in with their first-round pick in next month's draft. I'd be shocked if the team is counting on the likes of Babin or Douglas to step in as a starter on the D-Line in 2010. Signing one of those guys would probably serve as insurance as the team attempts to develop a talented youngster at the position.
Of course, the talented youngster I'm referring to would probably be someone such as Jason Pierre-Paul, Derrick Morgan or Brandon Graham: some of the possibilities that the Titans could be looking to select with pick #16 next month. I could be wrong, but the team's interest in bringing in a veteran stop-gap at DE is a strong indication of what position the team will be focusing upon with this year's 1st round selection.
Your turn, audience: What are your thoughts on the potential signing of Babin or Douglas? Is DE the way to go with this year's first-rounder? Feel free to contribute your opinions in the comments section below.