So what gives? Mawae thinks that he possibly is being held back not just by his age (39), but also by the fact that he’s the president of the NFL Players Association.
“I am unemployed and hoping someone will call,” Mawae told 104.5 The Zone in Nashville, via Paul Kuharsky of ESPN.com. “It’s kind of befuddling to me that I just
came off my eighth Pro Bowl and a 16-game season and I can’t get one
“Alan Faneca gets cut two days ago and yesterday he signs a contract with
another team,” Mawae said. “And not to take anything away from him, we have the same
agent, we’re friends. But something tells me that there is something
going on beside me just being 39 years old.
“I’ve said in the past that I hope our management and the owners can
look past the fact that I am president of the PA. But right now it’s not
looking that way. I’m looking for a job. I’ve made no secrets about
wanting to be back here in Tennessee and I’ve yet to receive a call from
The problem in Tennessee is that he’d be returning as a backup, and the Titans possibly are concerned about having the new leader(s) of the offensive line undermined by a backup who’d potentially try to run the show. Then there’s the issue of money; Mawae hasn’t said that he’s willing to take the veteran minimum. Thus, there’s a chance that he wants more than what anyone is willing to offer.
Still, we’re not prepared to rule out the possibility that Mawae is being blackballed. We’re not sure, however, that publicly complaining about the perception helps his cause. Indeed, we think it’s now less likely that a team will offer him a contract.
That said, the better approach for the union would be to elect as NFLPA president a guy who is young enough and good enough to be indispensable to his current team, and irresistible to any other. In hindsight, then, maybe Mawae’s better move would have been to let Ravens cornerback Domonique Foxworth take over. And we wonder whether NFLPA Executive Director De Smith or Mawae’s agent explained to the player the risk that securing a second term as NFLPA President could make him less attractive as a free agent.
Then again, Mawae likely is smart enough to figure that one out without having to be told it.