The news yesterday that Titans defensive back Cortland Finnegan had walked out of training camp in a contract dispute came as a shock to the team’s front office.
“We’ve tried to call him, and we have not been able to get in touch with him,” Titans G.M. Mike Reinfeldt told Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean. “We were totally surprised he turned around and left camp.”
In and of itself, a player holding out for more money is not surprising — the Titans are already dealing with one such player in Chris Johnson — but what is surprising is the way Finnegan handled it. Finnegan showed up to camp, then left, and the Titans’ front office says he and his agent now aren’t even talking to them.
Titans coach Mike Munchak says he didn’t realize Finnegan was even considering leaving camp until he didn’t show up to a Saturday morning meeting.
“Disappointed is probably the easiest word,” Munchak said. “It is not something we expected.”
Finnegan is scheduled to make $3.793 million this season, the final year of his current contract, and Reinfeldt said he’s scratching his head about why Finnegan won’t honor the contract he signed.
“He will be a free agent the end of the year,” Reinfeldt said. “If you can find a contract extension that makes sense for both sides you do it, but if not, making $3.8 million is not the end of the world either.”
Reinfeldt is right: The smart thing for Finnegan to do, if he thinks the Titans aren’t paying him enough, would be to have a great 2011 season and convince some other team to pay him in 2012. By becoming a distraction in Tennessee, Finnegan is only making himself less appealing to other teams when he becomes a free agent in seven months.