We knew the Tennessee Titans were leading the chase for top free-agent guard Andy Levitre over the weekend. Once Steve Hutchinson decided to call it a career Monday, Levitre became an even bigger priority in Nashville.
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The Titans have reached an agreement in principle with Levitre, NFL.com's Ian Rapoport reported Tuesday. The contract is for $39 million over five years, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported, and NFL.com's Aditi Kinkhabwala said the deal includes a $10.5 million signing bonus.
Levitre wasn't the Titans' only high-profile signing. The team also agreed to terms on a four-year contract with former San Francisco 49ers tight end Delanie Walker, Rapoport reported. According to Schefter, the contract is worth $17.5 million with $8.6 million guaranteed.
Upgrading the interior of the offensive line was at the top of Titans general manager Ruston Webster's wish list after Chris Johnson struggled to find open holes for the past two seasons.
Widely regarded as the top guard available in free agency, Levitre played at a near-Pro Bowl level the past two years and never has missed a start. It's fair to question if the Titans went overboard in devoting nearly $8 million per year to a guard who benefited in pass protection from former Buffalo Bills coach Chan Gailey's quick-passing offense.
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On a positive note, the Bills' running backs averaged 5.0 yards per carry behind their offensive line last season. As one of the top blocking tight ends in the NFL, Walker also should be a boon to the rushing attack.
Not to be overlooked is Walker's versatility as an athletic chess piece for new coordinator's Dowell Loggains offense, which will rely heavily on the short passing game to ease young quarterback Jake Locker's development.