- Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports
Normally, the first few hours of free agency are quiet for the Tennessee Titans. That wasn’t the case in 2013. Within the first hour, the Titans reached agreements with offensive guard Andy Levitre and tight end Delanie Walker. They’re expected to court more players in the following days.
Levitre was the significant signing. According to Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean, Levitre agreed to a six-year, $46.8 million contract. That makes him one of the NFL’s five highest-paid offensive guards. Walker agreed to a four-year contract. Terms weren’t immediately disclosed.
Interior offensive linemen were important for a team that already needed one before Steve Hutchinson announced his plans to retire. Leroy Harris and Eugene Amano haven’t proven that they’re starting material. Fernando Velasco was the only interior offensive lineman who should start in 2013. Velasco will probably stay at center, although he has the versatility to play guard.
Many fans, including myself, would normally disagree with paying an offensive guard this much money. In this case, I’m 100 percent for it. Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt could wreak havoc in the AFC South for the next decade. Strong guard play is important against 3-4 defenses. It’s worth noting that when the Texans hosted the Buffalo Bills this past season, Watt had five tackles with a sack and stuff. He had zero pass deflections.
Fans can expect more significant changes on the interior of the offensive line. With the 10th pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Titans could consider Chance Warmack or Jonathan Cooper to play on the opposite side of Levitre. That should shore up an offensive line that allowed 39 sacks during the 2012-13 season. From 2009-11, the Titans allowed a combined 66 sacks.
Watch for more moves in the upcoming days. The Titans still have money leftover to add a few more pieces before the draft.