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Titans pursuit of a veteran receiver may portend Nate Washington's exit

By Matt Rybaltowski | CBSSports.com


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Nate Washington's time in Tennessee could be coming to a close. (USATSI)

The Tennessee Titans met with Jets wide receiver Chaz Schilens on Wednesday, according to CBSSports.com NFL Insider Jason La Canfora, their third reported meeting with a veteran receiver over the past two days.

On Tuesday, the Titans visited with former Texans wide receiver Kevin Walter and Broncos free agent wide receiver Brandon Stokley, Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean reported. The meetings could signal the end of veteran receiver Nate Washington's stint in Nashville. Washington, who led the Titans in receiving yards in each of the last two seasons, came to Tennessee in 2009 after opening his NFL career in 2005 with the Steelers.

Stokley had 45 receptions for 544 yards last season with the Broncos, his highest reception total since 2008. After finishing with four touchdown catches while with the Broncos, Seahawks and Giants from 2009-2011, Stokley surpassed the total with five in 2012. Stokley's return to Denver, though, is unlikely after the signing of Wes Welker.

Walter, another slot receiver, was released earlier this month in a cost-cutting measure. From 2007 until 2010, Walter finished with at least 50 receptions and 600 receiving yards in each season. In the last two seasons, however, Walter has averaged 40 receptions for 496 yards.

At 6-4, 225 pounds, Schilens is regarded as a quick, physical receiver with imposing size. Unlike Walter and Stokley, Schilens has primarily appeared at flanker in recent seasons. Schilens had 28 receptions in six starts with the Jets in 2012. If the Titans add Schilens, Kendall Wright, their first-round pick in 2012, could receive more playing time in the slot. If Tennessee adds Walter or Stokley, Wright will likely receive the bulk of his snaps on the outside.

In 2011, Washington had a breakout season with career-highs in receptions (74), receiving yards (1,023) and touchdowns (seven). The presence of Wright and the return of Kenny Britt, though, caused Washington's numbers to dip last season. Washington finished the year with 46 receptions and a catch rate of 53.5 percent. Two season ago, Washington's catch rate of 62.7 percent ranked seventh among receivers that appeared in at least 75 percent of their team's offensive snaps, according to Pro Football Focus.

The Titans reportedly looked to shop Washington earlier this month before the start of free agency. Washington, 29, has two years remaining on a six-year, $26.8 million contract he signed in 2009. Washington has a cap hit of $5.1 million for 2013, according to Spotrac.com.

Keep your eye on everything NFL by following Matt Rybaltowski on Twitter:@mattrybaltowski.

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