NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 27: Quarterback Josh Freeman #5 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers throws a pass around Cortland Finnegan #31 of the Tennessee Titans at LP Field on November 27, 2011 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
In addition to the 2012 NFL Draft, NFL free agency is not too far off, kicking off on March 13. With Jeff Fisher now the St. Louis Rams' head coach, he could lure some of his former players to round out a depleted roster and get the team up and running in his first season. A headliner in that group is cornerback Cortland Finnegan, scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent.
Is it a realistic possibility?
The Titans have yet to discuss a contract with Finnegan, according to a report last week from Jim Wyatt at the Tennessean. Finnegan appeared on 101ESPN last Friday, hereafter known as Fisher Friday in St. Louis, and said that he would be open to playing for his former head coach again.
Finnegan and Brent Grimes figure to be the top two corners on the free agent market this year. They ranked second and third on the cornerback rankings this season from PFF, behind Darrelle Revis. PFF's stats are not the gospel, but they are a useful measuring stick for comparison.
Finnegan turns 28 in February, and Tennessee could easily use the franchise tag to keep him around one more season. Only pass rushers make more money on defense than corners, and the tag is estimated to be in the $10 million range for corners.
As for how much Finnegan or Grimes might cost in free agency, look to the deal signed by Johnathan Joseph last year, a five-year. $48.75 million deal with $23.5 million guaranteed. The Rams have about $10 million in cap space this season, with the possibility of freeing up more with some creative roster moves. Even then, a premier corner would eat up most of their cap space this season.
A better route for the Rams, who will hope to have a healthy Bradley Fletcher and Ron Bartell in 2012, is to shore up their depth, getting capable players who can step in behind two injury-plagued players. Ideally, they'll look for some secondary help in the draft that the new defensive staff can groom.