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Titans ponder future sans Finnegan

INDIANAPOLIS _ For the Tennessee Titans, there are two paths they can choose from this off-season.

Continuing with Cortland Finnegan or moving down a different path altogether in the secondary.

Finnegan is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent on March 13, although Titans general manager Ruston Webster is scheduled to meet with his agent, Terry Watson, on Friday or Saturday here at the NFL Combine.

“I think it's important for me just being new to the general manager's job. I've always dealt with agents in the past, but it's been on a different level. For me, coming here and doing that is important,” Webster said.

In terms of talks, the Titans and Finnegan are far apart with the cornerback believed to be looking for a package somewhere around $9.5-$11 million per season and with the Titans having only offered $7 million per year in an offer last August.

Watson told TitanInsider earlier this week that he needed to see a counter proposal from Tennessee soon in order to jumpstart the process.

“Right now, we're working through all that, not only with Cortland, but with several other guys. At this point, I expect them to all be on the roster next year, but we're still working on that,” Webster said.

In terms of how to bridge a gap that is several million dollars apart, Webster said, “You just keep working at it and kind of hope something breaks. You keep working at it and see what happens.”

The Titans probably won't franchise Finnegan, which would lock him in at $10.6 million for 2012, although Webster did not take that option off the table completely on Thursday.

“In the end, you have to do what's best for the club, and whatever that is, you have to do it,” he said.

As for the impact of potentially losing Finnegan, Titans coach Mike Munchak said it would definitely have an effect and force the team to rethink its off-season.

It would force the Titans to take a harder look at guys like Tommie Campbell and Chris Hawkins, who are currently on the back end of the depth chart to determine their true value as cornerbacks behind would-be starters Jason McCourty and Alterraun Verner in a Titans world sans Finnegan.

“I think we feel comfortable with young guys. You never really know how they're going to develop until they get this opportunity,” Munchak said. “If we don't get Cortland signed, obviously we have other ways of looking at the draft. But we feel comfortable with those guys, especially the way Hawkins came in and played last year as an undrafted free agent.

“He came in in the New Orleans game and the games at the end of the season. He came in and played well. That was very encouraging. But if we lose someone like Cortland Finnegan, that's a tough loss for any team. We do have some young guys that could step up and we could always look in free agency and the draft if we're not comfortable.”

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