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Schwartz doesn’t rule out interest in Finnegan

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Tennessee Titans

NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 27: Quarterback Josh Freeman #5 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers throws a pass around Cortland Finnegan #31 of the Tennessee Titans at LP Field on November 27, 2011 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

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Titans cornerback Cortland Finnegan is due to become a free agent. Lions coach Jim Schwartz used to be the be Titans’ defensive coordinator.

And so it’s obvious to connect Cortland to Schwartz.

Schwartz didn’t rule out the possibility on Thursday at the Scouting Combine. Walking like a Wallenda on the tampering tightrope, Schwartz didn’t say that the Lions are interested in Finnegan. But Schwartz also didn’t say the Lions aren’t interested.

“There’s a lot of guys that fit our scheme,” Schwartz said, via Anwar Richardson of “I think it’s important for us as an organization, for us a team, to keep a lot of the players we already have before we start looking elsewhere. I think the approach we’ve taken the last couple of years is we’ve kept an open mind in just about everything we have.

“We haven’t gone all in on any one person. We haven’t also discounted any player or person. Anybody that fits our scheme, anybody that makes sense for us, we’ve done a good job of evaluating those guys. If Cortland ends up being one of those, then we’ll be in that position with him.”

That sounds good, but it’s safe to say that the Lions already have done their evaluation of Finnegan.

Before the Lions can spend big money on a free agent from another team, they need to figure out what they want to do with their own guys. With the Lions, per Richardson, $11 million under the cap, using the franchise tag on defensive end Cliff Avril would tie up most of that money.

The key therefore remains extending Calvin Johnson’s contract and reducing his ridiculous cap number of $21 million.