As free agency nears for Titans, don't confuse chronology with priority

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- A year ago, the Tennessee Titans struck early deals to retain their long snapper and punter.

The team’s fan base responded with a collective groan, lamenting how such a bad team thought its cure would come in the form of special teamers.

Of course as bad as the Titans were and as bad as they remained, they didn’t believe Beau Brinkley and Brett Kern would fix them.

The Titans were ripe for criticism, but not for signing those two guys at that time.

They needed a long snapper. They needed a punter. And the free agency period hadn’t even begun.

Similarly, last week they signed nickel cornerback Brice McCain. He’s not the sort of player who will single-handedly turn the team around, but he may be an upgrade at a crucial position. He was available ahead of Wednesday’s start of free agency because he was cut in Miami, so the Titans didn’t have to wait for his contract to expire.

Yet the tweets came: THIS is what they are going to do?

My point here: Don’t confuse chronology with priority.

The Titans have a list of positions they need to fill or upgrade. But the order in which they cross things off is largely irrelevant. Now the costliest, bigger names generally disappear first. The Titans could be and should be in the mix for a couple of those. But it’s completely reasonable for them to set a value on a guy and if they see the market take him beyond it, to then fade.

We will excitedly, or disappointedly, discuss and debate guys they get and guys they don’t.

It’s a big project however, and it won’t be done in a day or a week. We can’t judge their entire offseason until we see their entire offseason. Once they fill out the roster, we’ll have plenty of time to debate how they did.

But if they sign a two-down nose tackle or a role-playing wide receiver early in free agency, it’s not a declaration that that is the most important thing. It’s not.

A couple of days before free agency opens, it’s a good time to remember that the order things happen in is hardly the most important thing about the things that happen.