Former Hawkeye RB Greene signs with Titans
Running back signs with Tennessee after stint with the Jets
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Titans have been busy trying to improve their offense around quarterback Jake Locker during the first two days of free agency.
The Titans announced Wednesday that they had agreed to terms with guard Andy Levitre — the first player they agreed to terms with to kick off free agency — along with running back Shonn Greene and re-signing their own fullback Quinn Johnson. Just before a news conference, they also announced they have a deal with Lions defensive tackle Sammie Lee Hill, and tight end Delanie Walker joined his new teammates after signing his own new deal.
General manager Ruston Webster said he spent the weekend targeting four of these free agents.
"They were the plan, and it's come together," Webster said.
The Titans are trying to rebound from a 6-10 season, and coach Mike Munchak said this portion of the year is all about rebuilding the roster and filling in needs both on the field and in leadership.
"The main thing we're looking at is to become a tough, physical football team and create an identity and look for players who can help us do this ...," Munchak said. "It's a trait that's common in all of them."
Levitre reportedly received a six-year, $46.5 million deal, and the 6-foot-2 guard is one of only three offensive linemen drafted in 2009 to start every game since coming into the NFL with 64 starts at Buffalo.
Greene got a deal that The Tennessean and other outlets say is three years for $10 million. He spent his first four seasons with the New York Jets, has rushed for 3,423 yards and 18 touchdowns on 822 carries. The 5-foot-11, 226-pound Green also has 65 catches for 482 yards, and he scored eight touchdowns in 2012. He is coming off the best year of his career with 276 rushes for 1,063 yards and eight touchdowns rushing.
That's two fewer than the Titans scored rushing as a team, and they see Greene as a perfect change of pace for Chris Johnson.
"He is a nice complement to Chris and an accomplished back in his own right," Webster said. "He is a tough and physical runner who has rushed for 1,000 yards each of the last two years."
The Titans haven't had that kind of option to Johnson since trading away LenDale White in 2010. They ranked 21st in rushing in 2012 but struggled to stay on the field. They ranked last in the NFL averaging just 27 minutes, 18 seconds in time of possession per game in Locker's first full season as a starter.
Tennessee also agreed to terms earlier Wednesday with fullback Quinn Johnson. He has been a lead blocker for Chris Johnson, and the fullback had four carries for 5 yards and caught five passes for 40 yards playing all 16 games last season.
The Titans scheduled a news conference for Wednesday afternoon to introduce their new players and have pushed that back 30 minutes.The Titans still have to address their defense after allowing a franchise-worst 471 points in 2012. Their lone free agent signing was safety George Wilson last month until they reached a deal The Tennessean reported at three years and $11.4 million with Hill on Wednesday afternoon. Hill played 59 career games with 18 starts with Detroit and four sacks. The Titans see him helping defend the run with Hill 6-foot-4, 329 pounds.