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Titans Preparing for Start of Free Agency March 12

Posted Feb 15, 2013

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The NFL’s free agency period begins at the start of the new league year, scheduled in 2013 for 3 p.m. CT on Tuesday, March 12.

Free Agency Primer

TITANS’ OWN FREE AGENTS

Tight end Jared Cook is one of 17 unrestricted free agents for the Titans.

The Titans have decisions to make on several of their own players whose contracts are scheduled to expire at that time.  The group includes 17 unrestricted free agents, two restricted free agents and one exclusive rights free agent. 

Players with expiring contracts at the end of four or more seasons are considered unrestricted free agents.  They are free to sign with another club without any compensation due to their former team.
 
Six Titans who started five or more games in 2012 are among the unrestricted free agents: tight end Jared Cook (five starts), guard Leroy Harris (eight), fullback Quinn Johnson (eight), guard Deuce Lutui (eight), defensive tackle Sen’Derrick Marks (14) and linebacker Will Witherspoon (five). Additionally, kicker Rob Bironas and returner Darius Reynaud are among the unrestricted free agents.

Players with expiring contracts at the end of three seasons are considered restricted free agents.  Restricted free agents who receive a “qualifying offer” (a predetermined tender) can negotiate with any club through April 19.  If the restricted free agent signs an offer sheet with a new club, his old club can match the offer and retain him.  If the old club does not match the offer, it may receive draft choice compensation depending on the amount of its qualifying offer. 

The Titans have two restricted free agents in 2013: offensive linemen Fernando Velasco and Kyle DeVan.  Velasco started all 16 games in 2012 at center (13 games) and guard (three games).
 
Those with expiring contracts and two or fewer seasons under their belts are deemed exclusive rights free agents.  Their rights belong solely to their present club provided they are made a minimum tender offer.  Tennessee’s lone player falling under this category in 2013 is offensive lineman Kevin Matthews.

Overall the Titans roster remains relatively full of players still in the prime of their careers. The team finished the 2012 campaign with 45 players on the 53-man roster or reserve lists who were both under the age of 30 and under contract for 2013.  
 
SIGNING PLAYERS FROM ELSEWHERE

At the same time their unsigned players hit the open market, the Titans will be able to bolster the roster by signing any of the other 31 teams’ unrestricted free agents. The 2013 unrestricted free agent crop is expected to exceed 400 players.
 
In recent seasons, the Titans have added key pieces through free agency.  Signees have included wide receiver Nate Washington (Pittsburgh, 2009), defensive end Jason Babin (Philadelphia, 2010), linebacker Will Witherspoon (Philadelphia, 2010), quarterback Matt Hasselbeck (Seattle, 2011), safety Jordan Babineaux (Seattle, 2011), guard Steve Hutchinson (Minnesota, 2012) and defensive end Kamerion Wimbley (Oakland, 2012).  Some free agents, including Witherspoon, Hutchinson and Wimbley, became free agents after they were released from their former teams. 

For the first time in 2013, the NFL will have a three-day period before the start of free agency during which clubs will be permitted to enter contract negotiations with certified representatives of unrestricted free agents from other teams.  Contracts between the parties can not be signed during the negotiation period, which will be March 9-11.

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