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2015 NFL Free Agency: The Key is the Intermediate Signing

The Titans head to free agency with a whole bunch of cash. Where should they spend it?

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Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

NFL free agency is just around the corner and with the Titans being one of the worst teams in the league there has already been a lot of discussion regarding some of the top available names on the block.

I want the Titans to avoid the big names with the big contracts.

I think free agency is often fool's gold. Too often we see teams hand out monstrous contracts hoping that a big name free agent will suddenly change their team's fortune.  The team then ends up using a significant portion of their remaining cap on a single player without the intended effect. Tied into that, teams often end up overpaying these players. Consider this basically the "free agency tax." You've got multiple teams bidding on a select group of players and this often drives up the price. Eventually the 'winning' team in the race ends up getting the player they want but with a contract that often outweighs expected future production. There's a reason why many of the best teams avoid these huge contracts - they're simply inefficient.

For a rebuilding team inefficiency might not seem like an issue. Usually bad teams have a lot of bad players and that means there aren't a lot of large contracts on the roster. Still, the goal is to eventually accumulate and retain young talent and that is where you eventually need to spend your money. Eventually that bloated contract on the books ends up as the casualty.

For these reasons I like to endorse the "intermediate signing." For a team with so many roster holes the Titans can use these signings as bridge players. They likely aren't long-term fixes for the roster, but can play adequately until you can find those long term replacements. Ideally you can fill several positions with the money that would have gone to one player at one position. Obviously the downside is that the quality of the players is lower (or at least projected to be lower) than the big contract.

Still, I find myself hoping that the Titans can target mid-level signings and with that I turned to PFF's Top 75 Free Agents List. There are two right near the bottom of the list that I'm particularly interested in. I think both Brooks Reed and Walter Thurmond have the potential to be both productive in this defense and relatively inexpensive. Much higher on that list is Orlando Franklin. I think he might wind up with a sizeable contract but I'd be interested if the money isn't outlandish.

I haven't had as much time to thoroughly study the list of available free agents as I had hoped. Which free agents do you have in mind that can be signed for reasonable deals?