With injuries and inconsistent play, he decided it for them, really.
There was no rationale for giving Locker a deal for his fifth year that would have paid him the average of the top 10 quarterbacks in the league, a number that would have been guaranteed if he got hurt and was unable to play.
It’s a make or break year for him, and he might have to compete for a chance to remain the starter if the Titans decide to draft a quarterback.
Likely, he’s the guy for this fall.
If Locker stays healthy and plays well, the Titans can try to re-sign him. Even a magnificent year wouldn’t make for a four-year body of work that would make him worth that option number in 2015. I don’t know that a big year would make him particularly attractive to quarterback-needy teams around the league, but if the Titans let him get to free agency they’d conceivably have competition.
The Titans will have plenty of money. As of Monday, they had $14,357,702 in room against their salary cap. A good share of that will wind up carrying over to 2015.
If Locker can’t stay healthy or doesn’t play well, the team will be looking to move on from him in Ken Whisenhunt’s second year as coach.