NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The NFL Combine is in the rear-view mirror. The NFL Draft, well, it's still over seven weeks away.
This week, free agency will dominate the conversation across the league.
Here's a quick Q & A before the frenzy begins:
Wait, I thought free agency started today?**
Close, but not quite yet. Today is the first day clubs are permitted to contact, and enter into contract negotiations with certified agents of players who will become unrestricted free agents. During the two-day negotiating period, clubs are allowed to talk about deals, but they can't execute a contract until the start of the 2017 league year.
So, when does free agency start?
The new league year starts at 3 p.m. CST on Thursday. At that time, the Titans and other teams across the league are allowed to officially execute contracts, and make announcements. It's also when the trading period begins.
Which Titans have expiring contracts and are set to hit the market?
The Titans have 13 players scheduled to hit the market. The group: guard Chance Warmack, tight end Anthony Fasano, linebacker Sean Spence, guard Byron Bell, receiver Kendall Wright, safety Rashad Johnson, defensive lineman Karl Klug, safety Valentino Blake, receiver/return man Marc Mariani, offensive lineman Brian Schwenke, linebacker Nate Palmer, safety Daimion Stafford, and linebacker David Bass.
Will the Titans try and re-sign any of them?
Well, the team reached a new deal with quarterback Matt Cassel last week, keeping him off the market. At the NFL Combine, general manager Jon Robinson and coach Mike Mularkey both said the team has been in conversations with some of their own players, so there's a chance others could re-sign, and remain with the team in 2017.
How active will the Titans be in free agency?**
Like a lot of others teams, the Titans have some money to spend. The answer here really depends on the market for certain players, and potentially how many other teams are involved in the bidding. Robinson was asked this question last week, and here's what he said: "We'll take every situation into account. There's always a jumping off point somewhere when you start to have those negotiations with players. You just can't put the team in that position. From a financial standpoint, sometimes those are the tougher decisions. Sometimes the decision to walk away is just as important as the decision to move forward. So we'll take every situation and every scenario that arises and analyze it and do what is best for the team. … We have a game plan. We'll see how that manifests itself when those contracts do expire and we can have those discussions."
When does free agency end?
It really doesn't. Look for the Titans to tinker with the roster all the way up until the first week of the season. A year ago, the Titans signed cornerback Brice McCain even before free agency started because he'd been waived. Then the team added center Ben Jones and receiver Rishard Matthews early, and traded for running back DeMarco Murray right out of the gate. But throughout the offseason the Titans added players, even after the draft and in training camp. Remember the Andre Johnson signing? The Dorial Green-Beckham for Dennis Kelly trade? How about Josh Kline being claimed off waivers? So this is just a part of a process that will shape the roster for 2017.
Titans GM Jon Robinson, head coach Mike Mularkey make their media rounds at the 2017 NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. (Photos: Gary Glenn)