If your team is in need of a strong, physical and really reliable cornerback ready to make an instantaneous impact, you might want to learn a little about an All-Pro with the Tennessee Titans who’s set to enter 2012 NFL Free Agency.
Often labeled one of the dirtiest players in the NFL, Cortland Finnegan is currently one of the most preeminent players at his position and is expected to collect plenty of interest on the open market.
The 5-10, 188-pound cornerback was selected in the seventh round of the 2006 NFL Draft. He racked up 75 tackles with one sack and interception last season and has only missed three games in six seasons with the Titans.
ESPN.com’s Paul Kuharsky, a former Tennessee beat reporter, believes the Titans will have a tough time bringing him back on a one-year deal or long-term contract due to his price tag. “I don’t think the Titans want him at anything near what he’ll be able to command,” Kuharsky said.
Finnegan hasn’t heard from the Titans since the end of the season and remains pessimistic about his chances of returning to the team, despite the recent front office shuffle, in which Mike Reinfeldt was promoted from GM to senior executive VP, Ruston Webster was promoted to general manager and Lake Dawson replaced Webster as the vice president of player personnel.
I hope it changes things, but I don’t know,” Finnegan stated. “All those guys work closely together. You see all of them—Lake, Ruston and Mike—together all the time. So I don’t know that a lot will change. Mike Reinfeldt will still be on top of everything.
Look for Finnegan to pursue a long-term contract upwards of $10 million/year for 5-6 years, which is comparable to the five-year, $48.75 million deal Johnathan Joseph signed last offseason with the Houston Texans.
There’s a huge handful of teams that will be vying for Finnegan’s services. The secondary-starved Detroit Lions and Oakland Raiders have been rumored to have shown interest, according to league sources.
ESPN 101 St. Louis’ Tony Softli expects the Rams to make an offer to Finnegan. Formerly within the NFL personnel, Softli describes Finnegan, who spent his first five seasons under Jeff Fisher, as “pound for pound, one of the toughest players I have seen” with the “mentality of a linebacker at the corner position.”
The St. Louis Rams can create ample cap room to sign the 28-year-old free agent by releasing Ronald Bartell. After losing a whopping total of 10 cornerbacks to injury last season, St. Louis can use all the help it can get in the secondary. The move would also negate the need to target a top-tier corner in the 2012 NFL Draft and instead be able to focus on replenishing the receiving corps and improving the offensive line for quarterback Sam Bradford, who’s coming off a rough sophomore slump.
The free agency period kicks into full swing on March 13 and as things stand, it doesn’t look too likely that Finnegan will be budding heads and throwing punches as often with Andre Johnson.