Bud Adams is doing everything short of selling Peyton Manning the Titans franchise in his attempt to land the four-time MVP. Tennessee’s owner has gallivanted around the country in his private jet while chasing Manning and traveling at approximately 432 knots at an altitude of 31,000 feet. He’s also prepared to offer Manning a contract “for life,” something that’s actually possible.
Now he’s bought Manning a person. Specifically, Steve Hutchinson.
The seven-time Pro Bowl guard has been signed by Tennessee to a three-year contract, according to ESPN’s John Clayton. It’s a move that dramatically upgrades an offensive line that really didn’t need much improvement at all, although the departure of Jake Scott through free agency leaves a void at right guard for Hutchinson to fill. In its current form the Titan’s O-line was tied for second in the league after allowing just 24 sacks, and they also allowed only 55 QB hits.
While there was a need to replace Scott, the addition of a marquee name at a position that doesn’t necessarily need a swift upgrade hints at this being a play to either satisfy or further lure Manning. No amount of care and caution is too much for a quarterback who’s recovering from a rare neck injury, and hasn’t faced contact in well over a year.
If Adams is successful in his attempt to court Manning, he’ll be employing two players who are significant injury liabilities. Hutchinson finished his final season in Minnesota on the injured reserve due to a concussion, and he’s now missed seven games over the past two years.
At 34, he’s not young anymore, and neither is Manning. The Titans are being short-sighted, and thinking almost purely about short-term gains with their approach to free agency this year. Long-term? Pfff, who cares about Jake Locker, that guy Tennessee drafted with the eighth overall pick last year.