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.