But in the coming months, they’re going to have to face another economic reality — that they have an expensive decision to make based on scant evidence.
“It’s very disappointing. It’s hard on the team,” Munchak said of Locker’s Lisfranc injury, via Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean. “To lose him now, it is a huge blow. . . .
“He’s the guy we thought would be here for a long time, and that still may work out. It’s just that right now, it’s disappointing, last year and this year, that he wasn’t able to finish this season and really find out what team we have and what kind of team we could become on offense.”
Whether he’s important enough to invest heavily in is a decision they’re going to have to make before he plays again, however.
Locker’s under contract for next season, but they have to decide by May 2014 if they’re going to exercise their fifth-year option for 2015.
To do so would lock them into a year at the average of the top 10 highest-paid players at his position. This year, that would be $13.068 million.
“I think that’s stuff we’ll talk about when the season is over and you have to make decisions on the next season, . . . That’s a nice February discussion,” Munchak said. “He is a fighter, and if anyone can come back from another injury, it is going to be him. We are just concentrating on these next seven weeks.”
The problem is, the time he’s away will complicate the decision.
They’re going to have to effectively decide how much future to invest in based on just 18 starts, and 23 appearances. He will have missed 14 of a possible 32 starts the last two seasons because of a myriad of injury problems.
So while they think he’s tough, and mobile, and a leader, he’s also about to get very expensive.