ESPN's Adam Schefter is reporting that the Tennessee Titans will not place the franchise tag on former Pro Bowl cornerback Cortland Finnegan, an unrestricted free agent.
The 5-10, 188-pound Finnegan, 28, is an aggressive corner who memorably fought with Houston Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson in a 2010 game. Johnson has had some huge games against Finnegan and the Titans -- 11 catches for 207 yards and a TD in 2008; 10 for 149 yards and two TDs in 2009.
But Finnegan gets his shots in. He intercepted a pass intended for Johnson and returned it 99 yards for a TD in 2008. And in two games since their brawl, Johnson has eight catches for 79 yards and a touchdown against Finnegan. The Titans won both games.
An upgrade at cornerback isn't considered a priority for the Bears -- veteran Charles Tillman made the Pro Bowl last season and Tim Jennings, though imperfect, fits Lovie Smith's defensive style. But it's certainly still on the list. It's worth noting that the best available cornerback in free agency could be Brandon Carr of the Kansas City Chiefs -- Phil Emery's old team. The Chiefs signed former Raiders cornerback Stanford Routt last month.
The Chiefs can still use the franchise tag on Carr, thought they aren't expected to. They might have to use it on free agent wide receiver Dwayne Bowe. That decision could impact the Bears and Emery even more than anything they do with Carr.