POSTED 8:34 a.m. EST; UPDATED 8:45 a.m. EST, January 26, 2007


As the Tennessee Titans continue their search for a General Manager, we've heard from multiple league insiders who question whether Seahawks V.P. Mike Reinfeldt deserves serious consideration for the position.

Though he has accomplished much as an NFL executive -- including a successful effort to get plenty of Seattle free agents re-signed before a 2005 season that culminated in a Super Bowl appearance -- some are suggesting that Reinfeldt is squarely to blame for the Steve Hutchinson debacle of a season ago.

Hutchinson, you might recall, is a Pro Bowl guard whose contract expired after the 2005 campaign.
The Seahawks slapped the transition tag on him, which merely reserved to the team the right to match any offers he received, and no compensation.
Though the franchise tag would have cost the team more money under the cap, the 'Hawks also would have been entitled to two first-round draft picks if he had left.

Enter the Vikings, who took advantage of a CBA loophole in crafting an offer sheet that translated into a fully-guaranteed $49 million deal if the Seahawks had exercised their right to match it.
Coach Mike Holmgren, who was vacationing when the deal went down, was livid.
The team filed a grievance over the maneuver, and lost.

So the Seahawks pulled the same thing against the Vikings, snaring receiver Nate Burleson, who was a restricted free agent at the time.
Burleson's offer sheet transformed the deal into a fully-guaranteed $49 million contract if in any year he played five or more games in the state of Minnesota.

The league was not amused with any of it.
We heard that, at ownership meetings following the fracas, the Seahawks and Vikings were dressed down for creating this mess.

But the problem is that the tactic is valid and viable.
If other teams don't use it, the NFLPA will be able to easily claim collusion.
Given that there later was an unsuccessful effort by the NFL and the union to bargain this provision out of the CBA, the NFLPA will likely be even more sensitive to it.

Rightly or wrongly, Reinfeldt is privately being blamed for the gaffe.
Another Seattle candidate for the Titans job, Ruston Webster, has been insulated from any accusations because he was wrapping up his tenure in Tampa at the time.

Other candidates to replace Floyd Reese are Titans director of player personnel Rich Snead, Titans director of college scouting Mike Ackerley, Packers director of pro personnel Reggie McKenzie, Jaguars director of pro personnel Charles Bailey, and possibly Dolphins G.M. Randy Mueller.

Reese "resigned" earlier this month.
Team owner Bud Adams recently said in a radio interview that the move wasn't voluntary.

"[W]e had to make a change and unfortunately it had to be Floyd," Adams said.