Tennessee Titans using fifth-year option to light a fire under Jake Locker

We’ve heard it before, and we’re hearing it again. The Tennessee Titans don’t plan on picking up the fifth-year option on quarterback Jake Locker’s contract. Makes sense, considering that Locker has struggled with accuracy and durability 18 starts into his NFL career and that said option would cost $13 million.

But while the team continues to privately say — this time through Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean — that it doesn’t plan on paying that type of money to Locker in 2015, the reality is that decision won’t have to be made for a year.

So who cares? And who would be surprised? It’s clear that all the Titans are doing is applying some public pressure on Locker to finally emerge as a franchise quarterback in 2014. And if that happens, he’ll likely receive a long-term contract extension instead of that fifth season.

Before going down with a season-ending foot injury in November, Locker’s third season was easily his best yet. In seven starts he had a decent 86.7 rating and threw only four interceptions in 183 attempts. But all four of those picks came after he suffered a serious hip injury in late September.

Until then, Locker was one of the most efficient quarterbacks in football. He was 3-1 as a starter and had a rating of 99.0, completing over 62 percent of his passes.

If a healthy Locker can get back on that track and can avoid suffering more major injuries in 2014, I guarantee you the Titans will be singing a different tune regarding his future in Nashville. Let’s keep in mind how badly you need a franchise quarterback nowadays in this league, as well as the fact Locker is only 25 years old.

Brad Gagnon

About Brad Gagnon

Brad Gagnon has been passionate about both sports and mass media since he was in diapers -- a passion that won't die until he's in them again. Based in Toronto, he's worked as a national NFL blog editor at theScore.com, a producer and writer at theScore Television Network and a host, reporter and play-by-play voice at Rogers TV. His work has also appeared at CBSSports.com, Deadspin, FoxSports.com, The Guardian, The Hockey News and elsewhere at Comeback Media, but his day gig has him covering the NFL nationally for Bleacher Report.