As expected, the #Titans did not use the franchise or transition tag by today’s deadline
— Jim Wyatt (@jwyattsports) March 3, 2014
As expected #Titans don’t use franchise tag. Alterraun Verner a good guy coming off a good year but cornerback tag is $11.834m.
— Terry McCormick (@terrymc13) March 3, 2014
It’s looking more and more like other teams may have an opportunity to persuade a Tennessee Titans fan favorite to leave the Music City. Alterraun Verner continues to seek long-term compensation following a 2013-14 NFL season where he went from competing for his starting job to earning his first Pro Bowl bid.
The Titans already pay Jason McCourty as a shutdown cornerback. In 2012, McCourty signed a six-year, $44.26 million contract. That included a guaranteed $17 million (Rotoworld).
Will they do the same for Verner? The Titans have a better estimation of what they’ll need to pay their 25-year-old cornerback. That’s because the Miami Dolphins agreed to a four-year contract extension with Pro Bowl cornerback Brent Grimes. At age 31 (in July) and with an injury history, the Dolphins didn’t shy away from giving their talented cornerback a contract worth $32 million with a guaranteed $16 million (ESPN). This was Grimes’ second Pro Bowl nod, just one season removed from missing the 2012-13 season with a torn Achilles.
Verner is about 5.5 years younger but as accustomed to covering the opponent’s No. 1 option. If McCourty and Grimes could net $7-8 million contracts, Verner can too…maybe even up to $10 million from a desperate team.
Some young up-and-comers could make this an interesting decision. Coty Sensabaugh has played well as a nickelback. Blidi Wreh-Wilson is a high third-round draft pick who could compete for a promotion up the depth chart. If the Titans aren’t satisfied with their depth, they could look to using their No. 11 pick on Darqueze Dennard or Justin Gilbert.
Don’t forget that this is the same organization that has drafted post third-round cornerbacks that include Verner (4th), McCourty (6th) and Cortland Finnegan (7th). Give them the benefit of the doubt on whatever decision they reach.