Would the Titans pony up for Mario Williams?
INDIANAPOLIS _ Tennessee Titans general manager Ruston Webster didn't name names when talking about his team needing a pass rusher. He just knows he needs one.
But one name stands out above all the others of those who can be free agents come March 13 - Mario Williams of the Houston Texans.
The Titans finished 31st in the NFL in sacks last season, and that has to change either through the draft or free agency. The Titans tried it in the draft just two years ago, but Derrick Morgan's career has been beset by injuries. That, plus, a lack of overall productivity and potential free agent defections has the Titans again seeking help at the position.
“I would think it's easier here (in the draft), because those guys usually don't get to the free agent market. You have to look for those guys in the draft. I think they're all along the draft, top to bottom,” Webster said.
Tennessee has rarely played the role of big spender in free agency and already has to deal with how much to pay free agent cornerback Cortland Finnegan, who can be a free agent. But Webster admits a big-time pass rusher would at least make him think twice.
“I don't really want to overpay for anybody, but the one position where that can happen with the most is with pass-rushing defensive linemen,” Webster said.
According to TitanInsider.com, the Titans have at least discussed Williams as well the other ends who might be in free agency in three weeks. Robert Mathis, Cliff Avril and Calais Campbell could be cheaper alternatives, who might provide solid production at less cost.
Two years ago, the Chicago Bears gave Julius Peppers $42 million guaranteed in a six-year, $91.5 million package. It would probably take more than that for any team to land Williams on the open market.
According to what a source tells NFP, there has been no new movement in talks between Williams and his current team, the Houston Texans. Still, Webster is in wait-and-see mode regarding free agent ends.
“I think you've just got to see what's out there when it all breaks. Typically those guys don't get out there. You think they're going to and and don't, so you just have to see what's available. But anytime there is a pass rusher out there, you have to take a hard look at him,” Webster said.
Terry McCormick covers the Titans for TitanInsider.com