The Titans make their move:
On Wednesday, Steve McNair agreed to a deal that will extend his tenure with the Titans through 2006.�� If, or when, this is approved at NFL HQ, the Titans will clear $2.33M from their 2001 cap.� The terms are as follows:
McNair will receive a $10M bonus immediately and play, in 2001 for, a $500K base.� Steve, team leader that he is, had re-structured his original contract several times.� As a result, compounding bonus pay-outs had pushed his 2001 hit to $8.193M.� Those bonuses don�t go away but his base reduction will drive his cap value down to $5.86M, creating the savings shown above.
Next spring, McNair will get an additional $6M as a signing bonus; this will trigger a 5-year option that would pay-out salary at $2.0M, $5.25M, $6.75M, $7.5M, and $9.0M from 2002 through 2006.� In sum, the deal is for $47M over 6 years including a $16M bonus.� This contract is back-loaded with more than a third of the sum due as salary over the last two seasons.
The Titans need the money to sign their rookie class.� Since they swung the deal for Kevin Carter, Tennessee has rested at $72K below the cap.� Now they are at $2.4M below; they do have 7 unsigned rookies but since their top pick was about #60 overall, $2.4M should more than get that job done.� GM Floyd Reese must think so; reportedly he is in negotiations with FA FB William Floyd, CB DeRon Jenkins and CB Micheal Booker.� Last winter, the Titans lost DE Holmes, CB Walker and FB Neal.� Kevin Carter will make everyone forget Holmes; it is an open question whether Jenkins could replace Walker or Floyd will do the kind of heavy lifting Neal once accomplished.
No matter, the impact players on that team are Kearse, Carter, Rolle, George and McNair.� With the possible exception of Rolle, everyone will be in Music City for what passes in the NFL as the long-term.� Given the state of things in Stillerville, the application is obvious.� While I do not have the 2001 cap info, I�m willing to bet that Holmes, DW, Scott and Porter don�t hit for $8.193M.� Again, that was the McNair figure; Tennessee has identified their core and moved effectively both to retain those men and, simultaneously, augment their team.� Barring injury, this is a win/win move and, if the Stiller FO doesn�t compete here and now, the Stiller squad will be reduced to a mere speed bump on the Titan�s road to the playoffs.
The Stillers need to deal with the core D-side players; they need a veteran FA OLB like Chris Slade now and they need to create room to sign a July-cut veteran OT/G.� The news that Hines Wards signed his 1-year offer is not encouraging.� Hines is a player, not a superstar but a player.� History has shown that, for quality contributors, RFA is Stiller for sayanora.� It could be said that this development illustrates the stupidity of giving millions to a punter but that is not so.� After all, the Titans gave millions to their punter and still managed to seal the players that they need.� The equation is not Miller or Ward (or Holmes or DW or Scott).� Miller sets a standard for excellence at his position; the Stillers are fortunate to have him.� In fact, the equation is Ward or Blackwell (or Rivers or Graham or Sullivan).� The problem seems to me to be that Stiller HQ has no sense of the identity they wish to establish for their team and so no sense of which players are necessary, or irrelevant, to that end.�