Titans CEO says team won’t budge on offsets for Marcus Mariota

AP

There are only three unsigned draft picks left in the NFL, but the biggest name of the bunch might stay that way for a bit.

According to Paul Kuharsky of ESPN.com, the Titans insist they won’t budge on including offset language in quarterback Marcus Mariota’s contract, creating a bit of a standoff with the second overall pick.

We’ve always had offset language in our player contracts. It’s nothing new,” Titans interim CEO and president Steve Underwood said. “I think it is important where a high first-round draft pick is concerned, because it’s the precedent. Everything that we do is precedential for the next round of contracts.

“So keeping the offset in place is something we want to be able to do going forward. And the minute you back away from the contract principal then you no longer are able to assert it going forward.”

Offset language is only important as it pertains to the player from double-dipping if he fails to live up to expectations and is cut by his original team. But with the four-year term of rookie deals (plus an option year the team can pick up), the likelihood that a team would cut bait on such a high pick — especially a quarterback — within that window seems remote. Even Jake Locker got four years.

But Underwood seems determined to stick with his principle here.

“Whatever you do echoes into eternity with player contracts,” Underwood said. “We just can’t afford to take a step back, at least this early in the process. We’re still a couple of weeks away from training camp.”

The Titans report to training camp on July 30, practicing for the first time the next day.

Whether Mariota is there apparently depends on one side blinking.

107 responses to “Titans CEO says team won’t budge on offsets for Marcus Mariota

  1. We all know why Marcus Bustiota doesn’t want offset language in his contract. So he obviously doubts his skill because it is fully guaranteed for injury.

  2. “Whatever you do echoes into eternity with player contracts,” Underwood said. “We just can’t afford to take a step back, at least this early in the process. We’re still a couple of weeks away from training camp.”
    ——————
    In other words, we’re a couple of weeks away from folding.

  3. The Titans finally get a potential franchise QB and they’re intent on mismanaging this situation on principle. This is why some teams are perpetual stinkers.

  4. When/if this deal gets done, Marcus seems like a very poor fit for this football team. No matter how I play it out in my head, I just see disaster and failure written all over this player on this team. Am I alone?

  5. Titans just being the Titans. You want to create bad blood with your future QB over principles? Ok. SMH

  6. Offset language is garbage. If a GM is legitimately afraid he drafted a bust and could cut him in 3 years then he probably made the wrong pick. People say players should be confident in themselves to allow offsets but as we know you can never know your future in the Not For Long league

  7. Kingmj4891 do you not get that Mariota’s AGENT is negotiating his contract not him? Obviously they have never dealt w/The Titans before. I’m quite sure Marcus doesn’t care either way, he just wants to go play football. You can wish & hope all you want, but Marcus will not be a bust.

  8. The teams are pretty united in the offset language. The Titans are doing the correct thing and Mariota is being given poor advice by his agent.
    Matter can be quickly resolved. Just sign the contract that includes the offsets. Why should players that don’t succeed on the team, get the opportunity to double dip?

  9. Ok I just read up on exactly how offsets work and this is literally the stupidest reason on earth to not sign a contract. Both sides should be ashamed of themselves.

  10. If they would just focus on getting him in the building and setting him up for success maybe the offsets wouldn’t matter.

  11. All part of the plan that leads to the blockbuster trade with the Eagles, which will happen before the start of training camp. Book it!

  12. No offense, but if the Titans just want to keep offsets due to tradition they are idiots. If you don’t trust your ability to pick a starter with the number two overall pick, maybe you should pick a new occupation. Now your best QB prospect since McNair will get to camp late and you will have another lost season. Great strategy to hypothetically save a few bucks

  13. Sounds like a guy who’s expecting to draft in the top 3 for the next 10 years. That must make Titans’ fans feel real good.

  14. If I’m mariotas camp I use this to force a mid season trade to the Eagles. Losing a year to ensure you go to a good franchise is a small price to pay.

  15. Interesting. It almost seems like Mariota wants out of Tennessee already.

    As for the offset language, Why don’t the Titans just do what the Raiders did with Kalil Mack? He gets “large chunks of his wages in 2015, 2016, and 2017 via guaranteed roster bonuses paid early in training camp” (from an old PFT item).

    So, the Titans would have to make a decision on Mariota before each training camp. If Mariota under performs, the offset language is there. If Mariota performs well he gets the bonuses. Seems like a good plan to me.

  16. If you cut this guy before 4 years is up you will have alot bigger problems than having to pay the guy about $4M with no offset.

  17. This team should have never left Houston, they were fine there. The Houston Oilers were generally a team to be feared. The Titans, not so much. Strange how things shake out.

  18. Mariota was a top 15 talent who got drafted 2nd overall because of the “QB premium”.

    He’s not a top-2 talent unfortunately. Only 3 real “elite” talents went in the first round (Jameis Winston, Amari Cooper and Leonard Williams).

  19. If Mariota turns out to be the next Vince Young, the Titans will be glad they stuck to their principles. 50-50 proposition at this point.

  20. What if Chip and Mariotta’s plan all along were to tank this season, get the #1 overall pick, and to have Mariotta renter the draft next year?

  21. Why does anyone care what a rookie/interim CEO is flapping his gums about. He will eventually be overruled by the owner after a few more criticisms by anonymous NFL GMs. You just don’t mess up your relationship with your franchise QB over the very remote possibility that Mariota would ever get cut after 3 years.

  22. Winston signed his contract before the 2nd round of the drafted started when people were blasting him for his character. The tables have turned.

  23. He’s not a top-2 talent unfortunately. Only 3 real “elite” talents went in the first round (Jameis Winston, Amari Cooper and Leonard Williams).

    —-
    You’re right that Mariota wasn’t an exceptional pro prospect. It’s going to take him some time to adapt to the pro style assuming he ever does.

    But there is no way in the world Winston was an “elite” prospect. Late with throws, trouble deciphering coverages, a statue in the pocket, tendency to force throws into coverage, etc all lead to his 18 INTs with a pretty soft schedule. Not to mention he disappears at times and has a tendency to play down to the level of the competition. I won’t even mention the off field issues.

    Either of those guys are a complete guess at this point. But neither even remotely stack up to “elite” prospects (Elway, Peyton, Luck, Kelly, Young…) Even recently they wouldn’t stack up favorably with more recent drafts.

  24. paochow says: Jul 14, 2015 7:57 PM

    Call up Chip- he is willing to make a trade….
    *********************************************
    :^Q Wow—I wonder—could the delay be that something was brewing along those lines? And still is?? I would be stunned but not surprised.

  25. I hope for the fans that this gets done before camp. Talk about starting the year on the wrong foot if he misses time… with the reduced time they have under the current CBA… jeez…

  26. Zach Mettenberger must have loud footsteps. Don’t be scared Super Mariota.

  27. I understand from a team perspective… Millions of dollars at risk…. It has nothing to do with its ability to draft players…..how many first round busts??

  28. It seems like both sides are betting on each other to fail. This is like not getting married because of a pre-nup. “I love you honey, but when we DO get divorced I’m totally taking the house!”

    In the meantime, both parties are making this a self-fulfilled prophecy. The odds of success trend down with every day they’re not working together.

    Meanwhile, you can’t blame Mariota. His lifetime earnings will depend largely on this contracts, whoever he double-dips with when he fails, his CFL contract…and then whatever Fox’s Northwest pays him to do color commentary for Oregon Duck games in 2019 or so.

  29. Dear Marcus:

    On behalf of Titans fans everywhere, I am so SO sorry that our front office is embarrassing themselves, the team and all of us like this. You are the best prospect this team has drafted since they arrived in Nashville 17 years ago, and you deserve so much better.

    Respectfully,
    Fan Since Memphis

  30. Good lord, people want to say Winston has better character than Mariota becaue he signed his contract first?

    I’m not going to bash Winston here. . . but if we are going to talk about media reports and contract disputes and put them into a big mixer. . . he would lose pretty badly to Marcus.

    As for the dispute, it’s exactly why horrible teams stay horrible. You passed up a ton of trade offers. You make the decision this is your franchise QB. And you decide to play hardball. This in a league where you have ALREADY WON. The rookie salary cap minimizes any possible mistake you will make. Yet you decide you need to fight over peanuts. Good job guys.

    Mariota should stick to his guns. If the Titans are willing to let him sit over this, they’d also be willing to axe him if he doesn’t develop fast enough to save money. Screw them.

  31. PFT loves Mariota but Mettenberger is a better pro QB anyways. Mariota is Colin Kaepernick with better accuracy and a weaker arm. How many offensive skill players have come out of Oregon’s spread system to NFL success? Titans aren’t the best organization, but they are right to keep their precedent here on offset language.

  32. I’m just waiting for the news to break that Jason McCourty has been traded to the Pats for a 7th Rounder. Not only would it make my day, but it would prove exactly how inept the Titan’s front office is.

  33. So glad the Bucs drafted Winston… He signed the very next day after he was drafted…. If this was Winston holding out there would be an uproar…

  34. Who would want to be the QB for that dumpster fire of an organization? He’ll be the next Tim Couch or David Carr. Mariota would be better off not signing and entering the draft next year.

  35. If you’re going to complain about offsets, TRADE THE PICK! By asking a player to take offsets, you’re saying hey it’s ok if you fail, but I will get my money back. Not exactly the best way to start of a relationship. Especially someone you’re proclaiming to be your franchise quarterback of the future.

  36. Personally, I would love to have a job where you HAD to pay me a fixed amount of money, I could possibly not be able to do the job and when I’m fired, go make even more money (cause I get paid twice now) regardless of the money!!!!! Would be awesome!!! This has nothing to do with the player or team, it’s all about lawyers!!! Underwood is a lawyer and frankly I agree with him. Set a precedent and you will lose arguing in court why this other guy is different. I actually think ANY organization that caves on the matter is stupid. Oh wait, the 3rd team picking did and now their guy is out for the season. So if he comes back and doesn’t live up to expectations and the team HAS to cut him because they don’t want to give those extra bonuses to an overpaid bloat of a contract, they have to cut him so he can then make MORE!!!! It’s actually hilarious that ANY team would agree to that. With that said, Mariota will be a star and won’t ever have to worry about it anyway.

  37. They won’t even let him surf. And then this stuff. He should make a video of himself surfing pipeline when its going off.

  38. LOL. Let Underwood play under center then. He is obviously a child when it comes to negotiations (if not, I feel sorry for the persons he previously represented). There will be a common ground, even with Underwood’s bluff.

  39. If he is a bust who is going to sign him for big money
    No one so why does it matter so a team pays him league minimum your worried about that 500,000 vs your hopefully qb of the future getting reps. Remember everyone saying he was the safe pick over winston. Winston was the first 1st rd player to sign with no offset language. If this was him this would be on the bottom of espn ticker all day. But because it is mariota it isn’t even a story I had no clue he wasn’t signed yet. Just another reason what you did or personified in college has no barring on the future. Suck it winston haters!!!!!! Mariotta knows he will be a bust and is trying to get the most out if his 15 minutes of fame. See you in ray j opening weekend. Winston will be there will you marcus. #haters

  40. The Titans want business as usual. Business as usual ended up with the number 2 pick in the draft. The #2 pick in the draft is not a reward for being a well run team. It’s a sympathetic gift to an incompetent team that needs all the help they can get. The Titans seem happy to keep on doing what got them in this position in the first place. At some point the commissioner needs to step in and appoint new leadership, or force the team to sell.

  41. Easy solution… Mariota gives-in and accepts offset language but the Titans pay an extra $3Mil in the signing bonus for that concession. The total contract value is slotted, but there is lee-way on SB.

    Titans need to pay for that concession if they’re adamant on having it. 2014 picks didn’t have offset language until Watkins @ pick #4.

  42. ReligionIsForIdiots says;

    Talk about an organization that has absolutely no confidence in their ability to draft players.

    Our you could say that Mariota has absolutely no confidence in his ability to be a serviceable quarterback for at least 4 years! Hell Jake Locker made it 4 years and he sucks too!!!

  43. Stick it to him Titans. Offset language should be in every potential busts’ contract

    If Mariota wants to hold out, he doesn’t get to play for a year….and no one will draft him next year.

  44. Somewhere Mettenburger has a smile that isnt going anywhere. Even if he shows up to camp chances are the job isnt his anyway.

  45. Dude, you know you copped that “echos in eternity” line from the other Marcus (Russell Crow) in the “Gladiator”. Just a little strong for a football contract, wouldn’t you say?

  46. Before the draft there was talk of the Titans trading for Sam Bradford. What if Chip traded for Bradford with a wink wink agreement with Marcus that he doesn’t sign. Chip flips Bradford plus a 1 and 2 and gets his guy. Unlikely yes but that would be terrific.

  47. barry0181 says:
    Jul 14, 2015 9:27 PM

    So glad the Bucs drafted Winston… He signed the very next day after he was drafted…. If this was Winston holding out there would be an uproar…

    So Jameis is an idiot, I thought that was already settled.

  48. If you could put what the Titan CEO is saying on your petunias, they would grow like crazy.

  49. I hope Mariota tells the Titans to take their off set language, and sits out the year, re-enters the draft and the Titans lose their #2 overall pick.

    I’m sure Mariota will find 20 teams willing to give him the contract language he wants.

  50. In the end Al Davis was losing it, and just couldn’t keep up. But even in his darkest days he wasn’t this screwed up. So, what’s your excuse Mr. Underwear?

  51. Also funny to see all the love for Mariotta’s stance here when no one else is getting that deal. Players that get it are the outlier, so although the Titan front office is full of buffoons with a buffoon coaching them, it’s still interesting to see how fans come up with who they want to side with when. For instance, I’m sure I could click on that Dez Bryant story about him wanting a long term deal, you know, a guy who has proven himself in this league, and I’ll get a whole different set of comments and support for the other side. It’s just funny to watch.

  52. Why has no one mentioned the obvious?

    Offsets are pretty much meaningless; they most likely won’t come into play. Winston didn’t care about offsets, since he has the confidence of being the future of the franchise. Mariota probably would’ve done the same thing.

    EXCEPT, the number three overall pick, the kid that got drafted by Jax, got hurt before he even signed his contract. So in basically a P.R. move, the Jags signed him to the best contract allowed to the third overall pick, including no offset language (he can double dip). Jax didn’t want any perception that Dante Fowler lost anything by practicing without a contract.

    So, now Mariota’s agent is whining at the negotiating table, saying “…but the number THREE pick has no offsets! Why can’t the number TWO pick avoid them?

  53. pftfan says:
    Jul 14, 2015 8:35 PM
    Mariota was a top 15 talent who got drafted 2nd overall because of the “QB premium”.

    He’s not a top-2 talent unfortunately. Only 3 real “elite” talents went in the first round (Jameis Winston, Amari Cooper and Leonard Williams).
    ———————————-
    I don’t know what to say to that. I’m not an Oregon fan, a Titan fan, or a Mariota fan, but I’ll tell you who has bust written all over him. Jameis Winston. I honestly thought Mariota was the prime QB pick of this draft. I wouldn’t have take Winston in the first round. Cooper and Williams may be good, but there are a lot of other first rounder that will be good too. You’re statement is just ignorant.

  54. Derek Anderson owes his NFL career to Brady Quinn’s rookie holdout. This situation looks very similar, but I think Mettenberger has much more potential than Anderson.

  55. Simply waiting for Bradford to be cleared as 100% healthy – then the trade with the Eagles goes down. Been in the works for months.

  56. When your organization is poorly run like the Titans while having a joke of a HC that’s not known for developing QB’s..I don’t blame Marcus or his agent.

  57. ttmstock says:
    Jul 14, 2015 10:12 PM
    Personally, I would love to have a job where you HAD to pay me a fixed amount of money, I could possibly not be able to do the job and when I’m fired, go make even more money (cause I get paid twice now) regardless of the money!!!!! Would be awesome!!! This has nothing to do with the player or team, it’s all about lawyers!!! Underwood is a lawyer and frankly I agree with him. Set a precedent and you will lose arguing in court why this other guy is different. I actually think ANY organization that caves on the matter is stupid. Oh wait, the 3rd team picking did and now their guy is out for the season. So if he comes back and doesn’t live up to expectations and the team HAS to cut him because they don’t want to give those extra bonuses to an overpaid bloat of a contract, they have to cut him so he can then make MORE!!!! It’s actually hilarious that ANY team would agree to that. With that said, Mariota will be a star and won’t ever have to worry about it anyway.

    ______________________________________

    You don’t get to fix the wage scale and have offsets. I’m sure players would be happy to take the offsets in the contract if they weren’t limited to having to devote their first 4 to 5 years to a team with no ability to renegotiate.

  58. LABFAN30: Nobody said Winston has better character on this post.They basically said that if the tables were turned then ppl like yourself would be calling Jamies names and what a selfish greedy person he is.Since its marcus,you defend him like you are somehow getting a cut of his money.Actually i hope the best for both but its a double standard if Winston had been the one holding out.Do you understand now?

  59. Mettenburg gets the start in Tennessee and Mariota get to go to the 2016 Draft… can’t blame Mariots as Tennessee KNEW what they drafted and then proceeded to say Mariota had to fit into their scheme.. taking away the benefits of drafting Mariota.

  60. In what other career are offsets for guarantees used merely for the fact that the employer terminates a contract?

    Offsets do not make any sense to me. If an employer wants to terminate a contract before it’s up it is none of their business what another employer pays me. Once you’ve given me guarantee pay and I haven’t done anything to violate my contract that’s it…..you shouldn’t be able to claw back some of it merely because you decide you don’t want me anymore. The NFL is insane

  61. #Bust
    Mariota knows he won’t pan out on the NFL. All is “regular joes” see it. Few GM’s don’t. It will take 2-3 regular season NFL games for those few to see what we all know.
    Even Mariota knows he will be a bust.

  62. Wow, I never realized he hadn’t signed yet… If he sits out the year, I hope the NFL prevents him from re-entering the 2016 draft & he’s forced to sign as a free agent.

    The dramatic loss of income will serve him right… He may be forced to sit behind an established QB as well, which may not be a bad thing.

    I’m taking this failure to sign as an admission by Mariota that he doubts his NFL readiness & is looking for fallbacks/safety nets.

  63. Not signing Mariota sure didn’t stop the Titans from selling 10,000 extra season tickets in the days following the NFL draft. Or thousands of his jereseys online. This is the worst possible organization to get drafted into.

  64. the chances that the #2 overall pick would perform bad enough to be cut over 4M in salary, but good enough to be picked up by a team for anything more than the league minimum has to be miniscule

    just sign him and hope for the best

  65. Offsets are part of the CBA.

    Personally I think the Titans would be better of having traded him for lost of future draft picks.
    And they still can … with the Eagles.

    The worst possible outcome for the Titans is Mariota doesn’t sign and re-enters the draft. Considering what they could get for him, that’s never going to happen.

    The next worse case scenario is Mariota Caves in the day before the season starts. Since he didn’t participate in pre-season, he won’t be ready and will miss much of the first year. Does that hurt him. Yes. Does that hurt the Titans. Yes. It’s a lose -lose scenario.
    The “win” for the Titans is they save whatever he would get if cut and resigned. We’re talking around 600K.
    Is that really worth that much, alienating your possible future franchise QB and getting the team off to a bad start? Sounds like being pennywise and pound foolish.

  66. And this is how you become – and stay – a bottom-5 team in the NFL. If they weren’t confident enough in his abilities to give a little on his contract, they should have drafted somebody else.

  67. Typical behavior for a bottom feeding team. He’s your guy, you draft him at #2, you know you are going to take him at #2, you are going to invest a minimum of 3-4 years in the guy, and you can;t get the deal done?

    If he is not in at the very, very start of training camp, his rookie year could likely be shot.

  68. “One player from the draft has a deal that does not include an offset. One. Dante Fowler of the Jaguars. Please cease the craziness over the offset debate. The issue is minor. It’s not something that finishes with trades or long holdouts.” ~ ESPN’s Paul Kuharsky (Titans beat writer since 1997)

  69. Offsets are a bunch of BS. If you guarantee a contract, then cut the player before the contrat is over, YOU PAY THE CONTRACT! If he gets another job, you don’t deserve money back. if you’re worried about that, don’t draft the player or don’t guarantee the contract.

  70. In two weeks, Mariotas Passport will have Canada stamped on it. Canadian Money spends like American money-crappy.

  71. This chess game is making the offset topic more and more important, because if Mariota holds out, he falls behind and his chances of success drop. He will have lost earnings potential and the Titans will have wasted a high draft pick.

  72. Did they not interview this kid at all? They should have known prior to picking him if he would be a hold out due to this contract.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.