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A misperception about the Titans' approach

Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky
The Titans don't write monster checks to other teams' free agents on the first day of free agency. We all know that. But they're hardly alone in being conservative. Peter King wrote this week about how Green Bay's assistant coaches had the first weekend of free agency off -- the Packers weren't going to be players in the early market either.

There are miles between free agency conservatism and doing nothing.

And I've been shocked at the e-mails I've gotten and the talk on Nashville radio that give great amplitude to the idea that the Titans "do nothing" in free agency, that they are cheap and unwilling to pay quality players.

If they are cheap to steer away from the kind of guarantees and total package that Albert Haynesworth got in Washington, then, yes, they are cheap.

Personally, I think they are pretty well built. You have to be to go 13-3, no matter the schedule or the playoff failure.

This is a team that's been able to overcome gaffes like Pacman Jones and Vince Young, misses like Chris Henry and Paul Williams, weak additions like Justin McCareins and Ryan Fowler and misfortunes like David Givens.

There is a long way between cheap and fiscally prudent.

Cheap teams don't bring in quality veterans from outside like Kevin Mawae, Chris Hope, David Thornton and Nick Harper. Cheap teams don't step up to re-sign Kerry Collins, Rob Bironas and Vincent Fuller or put a franchise tag on Bo Scaife. Cheap teams don't bring in Nate Washington and Jovan Haye to try to patch holes and upgrade positions -- to deals worth a combined $8.55 million in each of the next four years.

Are you cheap or are you smart if you lock up Cortland Finnegan, Michael Roos and David Stewart well in advance of free agency while their prices are still reasonable?

The Titans make their fair share of mistakes in personnel, for sure. Imagine if they hadn't blown the No. 6 and No. 3 overall draft picks as they rebuilt?

But the idea that they are afraid to write a check or lock up very good players is just inaccurate.

People getting all bent out of shape over the Titans' absence from big-ticket free agency should take note that while the Redskins win a lot in February and March, like most good teams the Titans are more concerned with November and December.

Update: A clarification on Fowler after hearing from some of you. It was too strong to group him with McCareins under the heading of weak additions. I don't think he performed to the expectations of the contract, but he is not a bad player. It was a rare instance, however, where a youngster pushed through a veteran when Stephen Tulloch took over as the starting middle linebacker just four games into the 2008 season.