Marcus Mariota: Still unsigned as Titans training camp nears


Marcus Mariota continues to be the only first-round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft who doesn’t have a contract, and with a line drawn in the sand between Mariota and Tennessee Titans management it doesn’t appear that a deal will get done soon or more importantly, by the start of training camp.

I watched as Dez Bryant, Demaryius Thomas and others got deals in place on Wednesday afternoon, but as the Titans are set to report to training camp on July 30th and begin workouts on the 31st, there is still no deal with the 2014 Heisman Trophy winner.

ESPN’s Paul Kuharsky reported that interim CEO and president, Steve Underwood says the team is not going to be forced into waiving the “offset language” in Mariota’s contract.

"“We’ve always had offset language in our player contracts. It’s nothing new,” 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 principle then you no longer are able to assert it going forward.”"

Jameis Winston, who was drafted just ahead of Mariota by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers accepted the offset language, and Dante Fowler Jr. who was drafted just after by the Jags, didn’t accept the language, and the language was waived.

Between Mariota, his agents and the NFLPA, it almost looks like everyone is setting up to get this language taken out of rookie contracts.

The Oregon star attended the offseason workouts, has done everything to become the face of a dying franchise, and is looks to be the perfect test case to get this language removed.

Titans general manager Ruston Webster doesn’t seem concerned with Mariota missing a couple of days at the outset:

"“I don’t concern myself too much with it if a guy misses a few days.”"

If a deal is to get done anytime soon, one of the parties will have to give in, and at this point, it doesn’t look like either side is willing to move off of their stance.

Underwood also had this to say:

"“Getting a first-round draft pick, a quarterback, signed and in camp on time, it’s a big deal,” he said. “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 success of the 2015 season for the Tennessee Titans is at stake here, and for Mariota to miss any time in training camp is crucial.

I’m not sure what the Titans are trying to prove here. They are standing on principles, and what they need to do is get their young quarterback signed and in camp on time.

The last five years have not been a formula for success in the NFL for the Titans, and to continue to stand on principles that have nothing to do with winning football games is ludicrous.

If I were Zach Mettenberger, I wouldn’t be giving up on winning a starting job anytime soon!

If neither party is willing to budge on this stumbling point, Mett could be your week-one starter!

Next: Tennessee Titans training camp questions: Running Back

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