As expected, the Tennessee Titans declined their fifth-year option on right guard Chance Warmack on Monday.
Warmack, the Titans first-round draft choice in 2013, has missed only two games due to injury in the first three years of his career with the Titans, that coming in 2015 when a sprained MCL sidelined him.
“We have decided to decline the fifth-year option for guard Chance Warmack,” Titans general manager Jon Robinson said in a statement. “At this point and time for our football team, as we manage the roster and salary cap, we believe this is in the best interest of our team. We talked to Chance and his representation this morning to inform them of our decision. We expect Chance to play well for us this year; and we are not closing the door on his long-term future with our franchise.”
TitanInsider.com reported last week that the Titans were leaning against picking up Warmack’s fifth-year option. Had the Titans exercised the option, Warmack would have had a salary of $11.9 million for 2017 that would have been guaranteed against injury. Also, in February, Warmack parted ways with his long-time agent Roosevelt Barnes.
Warmack was the 10th overall pick in the 2013 draft out of Alabama, chosen by then general manager Ruston Webster and on the recommendation of then head coach Mike Munchak. He was installed as an immediate starter at right guard, where he has been the starter ever since.
Recently, however, the Titans have been vocal in saying they need more consistent play from Warmack as part of a remade offensive line.
Head coach Mike Mularkey has referenced Warmack a couple of times, including this past weekend during and after the draft. Warmack is likely to play alongside a pair of new starters in free agent center Ben Jones and this year’s first-round pick Jack Conklin.
“We are trying to get the best out of Chance in a lot of ways. This will help,” Mularkey said. “This will be a part of it. You know Ben (Jones) being signed as well, being in the middle there. Chance knows that too. With Russ (Grimm) being in there with what we are doing schematically and obviously with the addition of Jack will help Chance this year.”
In the three years since the fifth-year option was written into first-round picks’ contracts, the Titans have declined two of three players’ options in that situation. They declined Jake Locker’s option in 2014 and picked up Kendall Wright’s option last year.
There is still the possibility that the Titans and Warmack could reach a long-term extension before he is scheduled to reach free agency in March 2017. The Titans also could still place the transition tag or franchise tag on Warmack, which would not be much more than what the fifth-year option would have been, in the event he has a strong 2016 season and they are unable to agree to an extension.