Tennessee Titans vs Marcus Mariota: leverage now even


The Tennessee Titans report to training camp on July 30th, and it’s looking more and more likely that their franchise rookie quarterback will not be in attendance.

At least not initially.

The longstanding contract dispute between the Titans and Marcus Mariota took a surprising turn yesterday, and the Titans are looking for leverage.

Last week we discussed this very topic, and the scale was heavily tipped in Mariota’s favor…then the Titans counteracted with a clever business move.

ESPN Staff Writer Paul Kuharsky spoke with interim CEO and President Steve Underwood…and let’s just say the gloves came off.

After months of passive aggressive statements from both camps, the Titans showed their hand…and finally addressed the offset language rumors. Underwood’s statement to Kuharsky…

“We’ve always had offset language in our player contracts. It’s nothing new. 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.”

He continues…

“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 principle then you no longer are able to assert it going forward.”

Now the gloves come off…

“Getting a first-round draft pick, a quarterback, signed and in camp on time, it’s a big deal. It’s something we need to be focused on. But using that or any other excuse to subvert the negotiating process, that’s faulty logic.”

 “You still need to stick to your guns about what it is you’re trying to achieve in the contract negotiation. You may need to use some fallback position. But getting your first-round draft pick to camp on time is important. Sticking to your guns about what you need to get in a contract is also important.”


“The offset language was good enough for Taylor Lewan, Chance Warmack, and Kendall Wright. All first round draft picks that you have to rely on this season. Are you saying that you’re better than them? Not a team player? Not one of the guys? And dare I say…a diva?”

By going on the attack first, the Tennessee Titans are trying to change the narrative. No longer are they being cheap, Mariota is just being greedy.

Clever on their part.

We all know that one of Mariota’s bankable commodities is his pristine reputation. A humble, team oriented leader. How much is he willing to risk that…now that it may appear that he’s the hold up?

I was listening to the Midday 180 sports talk show today, and surprisingly enough, some callers backed the Titans now. An interesting turn of events indeed.

At the time of this release, Mariota’s camp has not responded publicly to Underwood’s statements.

With training camp two weeks away, Tennessee has traded in their checkers for a chessboard. Game on Mariota. Your move.

Next: Tennessee Titans camp questions: Running Back

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