Report: Titans offered Whisenhunt $1 million more per year than Lions


There’s been plenty of speculation regarding whether Ken Whisenhunt chose the Titans over the Lions and if so why.

They may have been one million reasons.  Per year.

According to Paul Kuharsky of, the Titans offered Whisenhunt $1 million per year more than the Lions.

On a four-year deal, that’s a difference of (abacus engaged) $4 million.  And that’s more than enough of a difference when it comes to picking an employer.

If accurate, it could be that the Lions’ offer was limited by the fact that former coach Jim Schwartz will make $6 million per year over each of the next two, while the Titans owe Mike Munchak only $3 million or so for one final year of his contract.  It also could be that the Lions simply weren’t as motivated as the Titans to get the deal done, especially with Jim Caldwell on the verge of taking the job.

From Whisenhunt’s perspective, the proximity of Nashville to his hometown of Atlanta surely didn’t hurt.  Some league insiders have suggested that Whisenhunt had a better feeling about working with Titans G.M. Ruston Webster than with Lions G.M. Martin Mayhew.

Whatever the reason(s), the presence of quarterback Matthew Stafford wasn’t enough to get Whisenhunt to Detroit.  It’d be interesting to know what Whisenhunt truly thinks of Stafford — and whether there’s a chance Whisehunt shied away from the job because of Stafford, who has begun to draw criticism for not fully embracing the role of franchise quarterback.

43 responses to “Report: Titans offered Whisenhunt $1 million more per year than Lions

  1. I really have a very complicated and unflattering view of Stafford, not the kind of QB I would want at that price point. But I think working with Stafford would be a lot more fun, challenging, and fascinating than to work with Locker, not to mention a lot more pressure which makes things more intense and exciting. I think he’s really missing out on that, but I’m glad at least that the Lions didn’t overpay for him as I’m interested in no HC that needs huge money to want to come here. I’m still worried that we overpaid Caldwell way too much. But then again I look at money very differently than WCF probably does. Just a hunch on that. A dollar is like a vial of a rare blood-type in my eyes. Just hate to see even a drop get spilled anywhere.

  2. If there’s a coach you REALLY want, A million shouldn’t be a deal breaker.

    I know you don’t want to overspend, and the Lions probably feel burned by Schwartz, BUT I wouldn’t like the message that it sends to the fan base.

  3. Supposedly the Lions are also requiring Caldwell to retain 5 assistant coaches. If those terms were also required for Whiz, that would be another snag. This is probably the last good chance for Whiz and Caldwell to succeed as NFL head coaches, and I have to believe you want total staff control. Whiz had the option to go to TEN, and maybe CLE. Caldwell had no such options and isn’t in enough demand to wait one more year for that perfect opportunity. Therefore, Jim Caldwell, head coach, Detroit Lions, with a partially inherited staff of assistants. Lions fans (I’m not one) deserve better than this short-sighted penny pinching.

  4. The Minnesota Vikings impending dynasty will hit the NFL by storm, but don’t say you didn’t hear it here first.

    Talent wise, we have the best team in the NFL and arguably one of the best teams of all time (other than QB).

    Once we draft our franchise QB (and we will) multiple superbowls will be coming to Minneapolis. They are setting themselves up to dominate the NFC for the decade.

    Every team will start trying to emulate the Vikings in every way.
    Every fan will be jealous of Vikings nation.
    Every owner will be jealous they don’t own a historic future dynasty team like the Vikings.
    Every coach will fear traveling to Minneapolis to face this legendary Vikings squad.
    Every other teams players wish they’d have been drafted by the superior Vikings roster.
    Every GM will wish they had the drafting smarts that Rick Spielman has.
    Every blade of grass will wish it would have been grown in the new gorgeous stadium that belongs to Minnesota.

  5. Eh, I think if I were him I probably would have jumped on Detroit. His QB situation in Tennessee is not a good one and all of the stud QB’s will probably be gone when the titans pick.

    At least in Detroit he had the main pieces in place already.

    I think whiz may be looking at a below par 1st year.

  6. An issue many people don’t realize, there is no state income tax in TN. Assuming a 7% MI state tax rate on a extra $1m/yr deal, that equates to an extra $70k in his pocket just in tax savings. Not to mention the $400-500k per year he’ll save on the entire annual salary.

    That’s not chump change. Jus’ Sayin’

  7. Being a titans fan I just watched his press conference and he said he wants a smart, tough and disciplined team that is the reason why he didn’t pick Detroit

  8. Lions are definitely the more appealing football situation…. but Nashville is probably the more appealing living situation, although, I have family in Oakland County and it’s actually an amazing place to live.

  9. Those three interviews during the week of the most important game of the year sure paid off… For Whisenhunt.

    For the Chargers? Not so much…

    Glad he is gone.

  10. I guess Whisenhunt cared more about money then winning. I mean he just accepted coaching for a team that just fired their coach cause he would not listen to front office and change staff. So i guess he gets to cook the dinner and someone else picks the ingredients. What a loser!!!!!!!!!! will be fired with in three years cause front office will make some crazy request and he will fail, just ask previous coach!

  11. Why is everyone so shocked he would turn down the Lions. It’s the LIONS! Other than the Vikings and Browns there’s no worse franchise in the NFL.

  12. They gave Jim Schwartz all that money because he knew how to say the right things to convince the ownership of the team that they were making a wise decision. They hopefully learned from their mistake and we just move on. At least it doesn’t impact the salary cap, it’s just WCF’s lost personal money from not performing due diligence in making that initial hire and the extension as well as putting together a solid team in place that has a legit plan to win. He seems to have a hard time figuring out how to do that. That’s why I keep suggesting every year that he hires a really great GM to figure this stuff out for him.

  13. And now you know.

    All of the people embarrassing themselves trying to defend the Caldwell hire can stop it now.

    Even the Lions preferred Whisenhunt. They just couldn’t afford him.

  14. Tennessee has no state income tax while Detroit and Michigan have confiscatory tax rates. they offered a lot more than just $1 million.

  15. I’m not sure Detroit has better personnel than Tennessee at all. Both were 7-9. Detroit scored 395 points and gave up 376. Titans scored 362 and gave up 381, without a so-called franchise quarterback. Not much difference. Stafford has potential, but potential and $1.90 gets you a coffee at Starbucks, especially when your team is loaded with under-performing deadheads.

    It might be said that Whiz not only counted the bucks but also the qualities of the players at his disposal in Tenn vs. Detroit.

  16. Considering who he’s planning to be his offensive coordinator and that the Lions hired Lazor, maybe the media hyperbole of two coaches who’s NFL resumes are pretty even (actually, Caldwell’s is a bit more promising since Whisenhunt proved over an extended period of time that he’s patently mediocre) is a bit overdone. Maybe Lion fans kind of lucked out.

  17. Sure that extra mil will buy him a heck of a nice house in Nashville, but he still could have bought half the city of Detroit with the salary they offered

  18. I would have loved it if the Steelers had hired Whisenhunt after Cowher retired. Can you imagine Whiz and Arians running the offense and LeBeau running the defense?

    Also, people forget that Whiz could have had the Falcons (his home town) head coach job that year but the Steelers were jerking him around and after the Falcons hired Smith Whiz grabbed the Cardinals job rather than wait any longer.

    So instead the Rooneys were “blown away” by Honest Mike “Twelfth Man” Tomlin and handed him the keys to a Ferrari that had gone 39-15 for the last three years before he go there.

    Tomlin ran that Ferrari into a ditch and it is now without rims up on blocks in a chop shop with a bent frame and a cracked engine block.

  19. The real story behind all these coach firings/hiring, is finding out what the fired coaches are gonna make.

    Schwartz 6m a year for 2 years (12m total) and shanahan 7m next year. Jeez! Talk about free loot!

  20. When you’re a billionaire and halfway in the coffin like most of these owners, $4 mil is chump change. The money is a non-factor in this case. It appears the Lions just werent sold on Ken for whatever reason.

  21. And just to reiterate, Matthew Stafford is the quarterback for the Detroit Lions franchise, not the franchise quarterback for the Detroit Lions

  22. Maybe Whisenhunt didn’t want to walk into a situation where “your” franchise QB is a questionable talent at this point, it locked up for long term and isn’t going anywhere, and the offense is pretty much what it is already?

    With the situation in Tennessee he can have a year of Locker and see how that works. If the team turns in a poor performance he can just say that Locker either can’t stay healthy or perform at this level, then he can go out and choose his own guy and make the team “his.” He can either sign his guy or draft him and then he can live or die by it knowing he did it his way. For me, a Head Coach would want this situation more than what Detroit has.

    Detroit is basically saying, “Here are our problems, now go ahead and make chicken salad….by the way, all the players are under long term contracts for big money…so THEY aren’t going anywhere, but if we don’t win YOU are gone.”

  23. Leave it to the lions, to cheap there selves out of the best coach for the franchise, now try to spin it as Caldwell was the best choice. Yep, you want a guy who Stafford will abuse, and just like the Colts no one will listen to. Well at least Martin got him a brother to share the misery with.

  24. What makes Wiz such an amazing coach anyway? He went to a Superbowl with a future HoF QB, who he sat behind Matt Linehart..

    What did he do with that team once Warner retired? Answer, lose a lot of games and eventually get himself fired. Arians steps in and all of a sudden the team is competitive again.

    Caldwell, like Wiz rode a talented QB’s coattails and then failed miserably without him. And Arians steps in and makes the team competitive…. BUT – Caldwell did step in last year in Baltimore when he was promoted to the OC and was a huge reason they won the SB. Trushfully, Arians is really the best out of the three.

    Both are retreads and questionable. I doubt one is really better than the other. Time will tell, but please stop with the Wiz is better than Caldwell stuff. The facts just do not back that up.

  25. Just a little FYI….There is not a QB in the league that doesnt take on his role of franchise qb any more serious that Matthew Stafford….do your homework……

  26. usmutts says:
    Jan 14, 2014 5:58 PM
    I’m not sure Detroit has better personnel than Tennessee at all. Both were 7-9. Detroit scored 395 points and gave up 376. Titans scored 362 and gave up 381, without a so-called franchise quarterback. Not much difference. Stafford has potential, but potential and $1.90 gets you a coffee at Starbucks, especially when your team is loaded with under-performing deadheads.

    It might be said that Whiz not only counted the bucks but also the qualities of the players at his disposal in Tenn vs. Detroit.

    OK, PFTPoet’s post is the second funniest (and delusional) thing I’ve read in quite a while.

  27. When Caldwell went into the Lions interview what many don’t know, is he has already broken down a lot of the Lions game tape and presented to the GM and owner how he broke down all of Matthew Stafford’s pass plays and outlined the corrections he was going to make …that got him hired…that and Tony Dungy calling the Lions and putting a good word in for him..

    Whisenhunt was not a good fit in Detroit because he has no ties there and he isn’t a Michigan or Detroit guy…he has nothing in common with Lions GM Mayhew and he could pick his own staff…and his family previously lived in Nashville and his kids loved it there…

    Whisenhunt’s #1 goal is to find a franchise QB in the modern day NFL that is the only way you can win consistently…the Titans QB of the future may or may not be on the current roster…

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