Two days after the NFL Draft concludes, the Tennessee Titans will face another critical decision.
The Titans – and all other NFL teams who have not yet done so – face a May 2 deadline regarding whether or not to pick up a fifth-year option on players taken in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft.
Guard Chance Warmack was the Titans’ first pick that season, being selected 10th overall, and as of now, Tennessee may be leaning against picking up the offensive lineman’s $11.9 million salary that would become guaranteed for the 2017 season. That price tag could be one the Titans would shy away from, especially since it is guaranteed money.
Still, Warmack has been one of the Titans’ most durable linemen during his four-year stint in Tennessee. He missed two games last season with a sprained MCL in his knee, but otherwise has been active and available throughout his three-year run. In his rookie season of 2013, he became the first Titans rookie offensive lineman to start all 16 games in a season since Michael Roos did so in 2005.
If the Titans decide against picking up Warmack’s option, then it would make 2016 the final year of his current rookie contract. When that deal was signed, Warmack received just over $12.1 million in guaranteed money from the Titans.
Should the Titans decline Warmack’s option, they could still negotiate with him regarding a contract extension all the way up until he would hit the free agent market in March 2017. Also, in February, Warmack parted ways with his representation, agent Roosevelt Barnes at Relativity Sports.
Since the fifth-year option was placed into contracts for first-round picks beginning in 2011, the Titans have gone 1 for 2 in picking up those year five options.
Two years ago, the Titans opted not to exercise quarterback Jake Locker’s fifth-year option, though he remained the team’s starting quarterback at the outset of the 2014 season. When Locker, who suffered a hand injury, was benched under Ken Whisenhunt and then later suffered a knee injury, finished his time with the Titans, he opted for retirement once he reached the free agent market.
Last year, the Titans decided to exercise the fifth-year option for wide receiver Kendall Wright, who is scheduled to make $7.2 million in the final year of the deal he signed with Tennessee in 2012.
As for Warmack, his play has been somewhat inconsistent, but at times, he has graded out very well. However, the Titans offensive line is undergoing a makeover under new coach Mike Mularkey and general manager Jon Robinson.
For now, though, Warmack will be a fixture at right guard. However, if the Titans don’t pick up his option, a year from now, they could be filling yet another hole on their offensive line.