Jan 23, 2014; Honolulu, HI, USA; Tennessee Titans cornerback Alterraun Verner (20) at practice for the 2014 Pro Bowl at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Approximately six weeks ago…
So there you have it. The Tennessee Titans don’t intend to use the franchise tag or transition tag. Shortly after the 2013-14 NFL season ended, Alterraun Verner expressed interest in testing the open market. The four-year pro went from nearly losing his starting job to Tommie Campbell to rewarding the Titans with his first Pro Bowl season.
An $11.2 million franchise tag for a No. 2 cornerback? Can’t blame general manager Ruston Webster for not wanting to meet that. He already signed Jason McCourty to a six-year, $44.26-million contract in 2012 (rotoworld). While Tommie Campbell appears like nothing more than a special teams player, the Titans still have Coty Sensabaugh and last year’s third-round draft pick, Blidi Wreh-Wilson. If Verner signs elsewhere, the team has two cornerbacks from which they can develop.
Another matter working against overpaying Verner: the No. 11 pick. If Verner leaves and the Titans weren’t confident in their other options earning a promotion, then they should have their choice between either Justin Gilbert, Darqueze Dennard, or possibly both.
Don’t panic though: Verner may want to test the open market, but he has expressed an interest to return, possibly not letting it get that far:
Free agency is still about one month away. Anything can happen. The Titans offer him a fair deal (probably around $8 million per season), then maybe the McCourty-Verner duo can stick together while Sensabaugh continues to play well as a nickelback. If not, the Titans have more money to use on improving their pass-rush for Horton’s new scheme.