Offseason Snapshot: Around the AFC South checks in with the AFC South in this offseason look. See where the Titans', Texans' and Jaguars' priorities will lie as NFL free agency and the draft approaches. Will the Jaguars fix their problems along the line of scrimmage? Can the Texans find a complement for Mario Williams? What's the future of Kerry Collins and Albert Haynesworth in Tennessee? Get the latest news inside!

Jacksonville Jaguars

Team needs/Offseason strategy

The Jaguars will have to address the deficiency at the left tackle spot. Khalif Barnes has held the starting spot for the past four years. The club thought he would have made more strides by now. He's stayed away from injuries, missing just four games in his career, two of which were due to disciplinary action.

Former Colt Peterson has been a star in Jacksonville, but won't be back with the Jags
Doug Benc/Getty

By now, the Jaguars thought Barnes would have established himself as a top player at left tackle. But last year was probably his worst and with the problems off the field, the Jaguars are in a dilemma as to whether to let the unrestricted free agent find a new home.

The club was able to find a starter at right tackle (Tony Pashos) in free agency two years ago and would like to do the same at the left tackle spot. But after being burned by Jerry Porter and Drayton Florence, the Jaguars aren't likely to go after a quality player that's looking for a multi-year, multi-million dollar deal. Chances are the team won't be real active in free agency, other than to bring in a marginal player that won't command much guaranteed money.

The other tough decision for the Jaguars will be whether to try and retain safety Gerald Sensabaugh. The fourth-year player became a full-time starter mid-way through the 2008 season and played well. But Sensabaugh is now an unrestricted free agent and his audition as a starter could land him a mega-bucks deal elsewhere. The Jaguars are in a good position, well under the salary cap, but is it enough to dish out the kind of money that Sensabaugh will be looking for?

Top three team needs:

1. Defensive tackle: the Jaguars didn't realize what a big loss Marcus Stroud was going to be. It took the effectiveness away from John Henderson as no one did an adequate job in replacing Stroud. Definitely a must fill spot, probably more so through the draft.

2. Offensive left tackle: Khalif Barnes has not proven to be the answer the Jaguars were looking for. They'll seek one of the top 3-4 tackles in the first round but if they're all gone by the club's 8th pick, they'll likely go after a tackle in the latter rounds.

3. Safety: If Sensabaugh is not resigned, this will be a top priority. Brian Williams can fill the hole, but it weakens the team too much at cornerback. If a top cornerback can be found, it could send Williams back to the safety position. But that's what the Jaguars did last offseason with the acquisition of Florence and that certainly didn't work out.


— LT Khalif Barnes is likely on the hot seat. He's had several indiscretions off the field and his play at the left tackle spot last season was less than adequate. He's likely played his last game for the Jaguars.

— C Brad Meester is a solid player but he's missed the first five and six games of the 2007 and '08 seasons respectively due to injuries. Those came after he had started 92 consecutive games and has the coaching staff worried about his durability.

— OG Chris Naeole was resigned by the Jaguars at the start of the '08 season and once he was at full strength would have moved into the starting lineup except he suffered a broken hand in pregame warm-ups in his first game. The Jaguars need help at this spot, but at 34, Naeole may not be the answer.

— MLB Mike Peterson was one of the team's most popular players among both teammates and fans, but his days are over in Jacksonville. He took his name-plate off above his locker on the last day, a sure indication he's not expected to return.

— S Pierson Prioleau was a solid special teams player who saw more action at the end of the season, but likely doesn't fit into the team's plans for the future.

— S Gerald Sensabaugh had the best season of his 4-year NFL career but all that did was increase his value on the open market. The Jaguars would like to have him back but he'll likely find greener pastures and more dollars elsewhere.

— CB Scott Starks missed the final 12 games last season with an ACL tear in his knee. That hurt the Jaguars with the sub-par effort from Drayton Florence. With the latter's exit, the Jags may try to retain Starks.

— WR Reggie Williams has led the Jaguars in receiving TDs last two seasons but his 2008 total of three scores was a far cry from the 10 TDs he posted the year before. This isn't a deep position for the club and even with the release of Jerry Porter, the Jaguars won't make much of an effort or enticement for Williams to stay.

— LB Brian Uwuh.
— DE James Wyche.

— FB Montell Owens: Potential RFA; terms unknown.
— LS Joe Zelenka: Potential UFA; terms unknown.


— CB Drayton Florence (released).
— WR Jerry Porter (released).

Houston Texans

Team needs/Offseason strategy:

The main priority for the Texans is to figure out what they are going to do with CB Dunta Robinson, who is an unrestricted free agent. He is coming off a serious injury, but he returned partway through last season and took back his starting job. He was not yet at 100 percent, but his knee held up well and Robinson is going to command money this offseason.

Despite injury problems, Robinson is a priority for the Texans
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Robinson will likely be shooting for around $20-23 million in guaranteed money — an amount the Texans haven't given anyone other than Mario Williams in their short history.

As for their other current players facing possible free agency, there are no other players that will command nearly as much of their time — or money — as Robinson.

Top three team needs:

1. Defensive end: Given the team re-signs Dunta Robinson, they will be able to focus on bolstering their pass rush in the first round by signing another defensive end to help complement Mario Williams.

2. Linebacker: The Texans have questions surrounding young starters Zac Diles and Xavier Adibi. If they could get a big play outside linebacker, it would be key for them.

3. Running back: The Texans still need a situational-type back to spell Steve Slaton. He must be a little bigger and fit well into the zone-blocking scheme.

MEDICAL WATCH: The Texans have no major offseason injury concerns.



— S C.C. Brown could be re-signed to add some experience to the secondary, but he will have to compete to regain his starting job.
— TE Mark Bruener will not be back with the team. He is likely going to go into retirement. He spent most all of last season inactive.
— CB DeMarcus Faggins is one of the few remaining original Texans. He wants the opportunity to come back and compete for a job but he was the last corner on the roster by the end of last season and he could get bumped for younger players with more upside.
— S Nick Ferguson could come back. He was solid as a versatile backup last year and then played well in the starting job. Texans GM Rick Smith likes Ferguson and could bring him back as a backup.
— OL Scott Jackson has spent much of the past two seasons on the injured reserve list. His career is definitely in jeopardy. It's unlikely he would crack the lineup if he returns.
— LS Bryan Pittman was suspended for the final four games of last season and his replacement played well in his place and has more versatility since Pittman is strictly a long snapper. It's unlikely Pittman will return.
— CB Dunta Robinson is someone the Texans want back, but they will have to guarantee him a considerable amount of money or franchise him. He is the top priority of their free agents, but he won't come cheap.
— RB Cecil Sapp will likely return to compete for a job. His versatility helps since he can play fullback and running back.
— C/G Chris White has been a versatile backup on the offensive line. He will likely return to compete for a backup job again.
— CB Jimmy Williams spent all of last season on the injured reserve. He could return to compete for a job.
— S Eugene Wilson will likely return and compete again for a starting job. He played well when he moved into the starting role last season.
— DT Jeff Zgonina could return for another year as a backup. The Texans like to have veterans in the locker room, and he could remain in the mix as far as defensive line depth.

— WR David Anderson has proven to be a good special teams player and has picked up the offense. He's slow and lacks big-play ability, but the Texans like his work ethic and the fact he can make plays when needed.
— T Rashad Butler is improving as a player and will compete again to be one of the two backups at tackle on the offensive line.
— DT Earl Cochran played well last year before being hurt. He provides good power and speed as a backup on the defensive line.
— TE Owen Daniels just attended his first Pro Bowl and remains the future for the Texans at tight end. He is an integral part of the team's offense as a receiver and a blocker.
— TE Joel Dreessen moved up as the second tight end for all of last season. They like his size and athleticism.
— DE Stanley McClover was hurt all of last season and may get a chance to return to add some pass rush ability on the outside of the line.

— WR Harry Williams will not be re-signed. He had the injury to his spinal cord last year and will be forced to retire from football.

— RB Ahman Green (released).
— LB Morlon Greenwood (released).

Tennessee Titans

Team needs/offseason strategy:

The biggest decisions facing the Titans front office obviously deal with Albert Haynesworth, who is seeking to become the NFL's highest-paid defensive player and at quarterback, where Tennessee hopes to re-sign both Kerry Collins and Chris Simms and must retain at least one of them heading into training camp next season.

Haynesworth will get a big contract, but will it be in Tennessee?
AP Photo/Mark Humphrey

With Haynesworth, everything on the defense runs through him at defensive tackle. His ability not only to occupy two blockers and still be effective against the run, but also to rush the passer from the interior (8.5 sacks) keys the whole defensive line. It was that play that allowed the Titans to blitz rarely and let linebackers make tackles and defensive backs play in coverage without worrying about holes caused by blitzes.

Offensively, Collins enjoyed a resurrection of his career and now says his options are to start somewhere (preferably in Tennessee, he says) or retire. The Titans want him back, and he will likely be re-signed. Simms is also a possibility to return, and could unseat Young as the No. 2. He might even win the starting job if Collins departs.

Top three team needs:

1. Wide receiver: The Titans have not had a 1,000-yard receiver since 2004 when both Derrick Mason and Drew Bennett accomplished the feat. Tennessee relies on its running game heavily, and Chris Johnson was a home run draft pick last year, but when he went out with an ankle injury in the playoffs, the Titans offense reverted to its old moribund self. Of the current crop of wideouts, only Justin Gage shows consistency. There is talk of re-signing Brandon Jones, but the Titans would be better off upgrading, even if Jones returned.

2. Defensive tackle: If Haynesworth departs, this obviously jumps to No. 1 on the list. The Titans have nice complementary pieces in Tony Brown and Jason Jones, but they don't yet know how Jones would do with more responsibility on him. One more playmaker on the interior will be absolutely necessary if Haynesworth departs.

3. Defensive back: The starters at both cornerback and safety are solid with three of the four making the Pro Bowl. It is behind them where the issues lie. Nickel back/safety Vincent Fuller, and key backup corners Chris Carr and Eric King are all free agents. The Titans say they want to re-sign Carr and Fuller, especially, but they also need to bring in help at cornerback, probably in the draft, to groom as an eventual replacement for Nick Harper, who can be a free agent after '09.

MEDICAL WATCH: DE Dave Ball was scheduled to have back surgery to repair a disc problem. It is the second time in his NFL career that Ball has had to have back surgery to correct issues. He missed the playoff game because of the injury. ... C Kevin Mawae had surgery to repair a torn triceps tendon in his right arm and will need about four months recovery time. Mawae should be ready for training camp. ... DE Kyle Vanden Bosch returned from groin surgery and played in the playoff game, but could use a full off-season of rest to ensure that he is 100 percent by training camp. It was evident that Vanden Bosch was never close to 100 percent once he suffered the injury on Oct. 5. ... RB Chris Johnson suffered a high ankle sprain in the playoffs that kept him out of the Pro Bowl, but is expected to be fully recovered by the time the off-season program begins.

— K Rob Bironas has been arguably the NFL's best kicker over the past three seasons, and the Titans would like to keep him. Contracts talks have been slow, and there is the possibility he could be franchised this off-season.
— DB/KR Chris Carr wants a bigger role in the defense, but his main role is as a return man. The Titans are expected to try and re-sign him, as he has said he would take less money to stay in Tennessee.
— QB Kerry Collins wants to stay, and the Titans want to re-sign him, but he has said he wants to be a starter and will be looking for a two-year deal that will give him starter's money. He might be wise to see how the Kurt Warner situation plays out in Arizona and base a deal off that.
— DB Vincent Fuller is a valuable nickel back and special teams player, whom the Titans have interest in re-signing. Fuller, however, might want to look around for a starting safety position elsewhere.
— DT Albert Haynesworth is the biggest free-agent prize out there. Talks have been slow to this point, and he is believed to be seeking a deal that would make him the league's highest-paid defensive player (Think $35M guaranteed). Titans need to re-sign him before Feb. 27 when other teams can enter the fray.
— P Craig Hentrich, a valuable veteran punter and holder, has given indications that he could retire because of recurring back problems.
— CB Reynaldo Hill, a former starter who was shoved to the back of the depth chart the past two years, is probably best off finding a fresh start elsewhere.
— WR Brandon Jones is a player the titans have said they want to re-sign. Jones' agent will give them the chance. Had his best season in 2008 with 41 catches. The Titans hope he can build on that and blossom.
— CB Eric King, a key special teamer and backup corner, has been beset with injuries the past two years. Titans wouldn't mind keeping him, but he might be looking for a chance to start somewhere else.
— OT Daniel Loper can play either tackle spot or fill in at guard, but will test free agency this off-season in search of a starting job somewhere in the league.
— WR Justin McCareins came back to the Titans for a second tour of duty, but was injured and a bit of a disappointment. The Titans haven't ruled out his return completely, but they will probably look at other options first.
— CB Tyrone Poole, a veteran who signed on in November after a rash of cornerback injuries, was used sparingly and won't return. It could be his final NFL stop after 14 seasons.
— TE Bo Scaife, a steady and improving player, led the Titans with 58 catches. The Titan would love to re-sign him, but he will explore the free agent market and might find a bigger payday than Tennessee is willing to fork over.
— QB Chris Simms should draw some interest around the league as a No. 2 quarterback. The Titans have said they want him to return, where he could battle Vince Young for the second job here. Simms likes it in Tennessee and that could figure into his decision.

— LB Colin Allred.

— DT Kevin Vickerson: Potential RFA; $535,000/1 yr.


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