Tennessee Titans Fire First Shot in Free Agency by Signing Levitre, Walker

Nate Dunlevy@NateDunlevyGuest ColumnistMarch 12, 2013

The newest Titan is a load up front.
The newest Titan is a load up front.Al Bello/Getty Images

Mike Munchak must have been tired of watching Chris Johnson getting stuffed behind the line of scrimmage.

The Tennessee Titans made a strong opening move minutes into the free-agent signing period by inking former Buffalo Bill guard Andy Levitre to a contract according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

The contract takes one of the best interior linemen off the market and makes up in part for the retirement of Steve Hutchinson. The team formally announced via direct press release that the veteran would not return.

They then followed up the Levitre signing by bringing in 49ers tight end Delanie Walker ostensibly to replace Jared Cook.

Shoring up the interior of the line was a must for the Titans, who have clearly moved into "all in" territory.

Levitre would have been a nice fit with division rivals the Indianapolis Colts, but the Titans struck first, announcing they are serious about contention in 2013. Considering how many jobs are clearly on the line, starting with Munchak, it's no surprise.

Levitre had a strong year blocking for C.J. Spiller in 2012, and will try to reproduce his efforts for Johnson.

Walker was never a feature in the 49ers' offense, but could well bring more flexibility to the tight end position than Cook did. Whereas Cook was an indifferent blocker who was rarely asked to play a pure tight end position, Walker can also stick his nose in to free up room for Johnson.

The moves overshadowed the unsurprising release of another veteran. Jordan Babineux, who struggled throughout the 2012 season, was released according to direct press release by the team today. The move was not a shock given the team's move to sign George Wilson from Buffalo.

While most free agent moves don't work out, the reality for the Titans is that they had no choice. They had to spend and spend wisely in order to become competitive. By securing a top guard and a replacement at tight end, they've made a good start.