<
>

Titans GM Ruston Webster has an expiring contract

Ruston Webster hasn't been able to generate a winning record in his four seasons as Titans GM. AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- If the Tennessee Titans want to move on from general manager Ruston Webster, they won't have to fire him.

Multiple sources have confirmed to ESPN.com that Webster has an expiring contract.

He has said he expects to be part of the process to hire a new coach after the season ends on Sunday in Indianapolis.

And owner Amy Adams Strunk, thorough interim CEO and president Steve Underwood, expressed "full support" for Webster at the Nov. 3 news conference where the team discussed the removal of coach Ken Whisenhunt and the installation of Mike Mularkey as interim coach.

While Underwood expressed that sentiment, however, Webster was not in front of the microphones with the two interim powers, but rather in the audience.

Underwood said that day that Webster's ability to work with anyone was an important trait.

"We're pretty comfortable with his record overall," Underwood said then.

In four seasons with Webster as general manager, the Titans are 18-45, tied with Oakland for the second worst mark in the league over that period. Jacksonville is 14-49.

During his time in the post, Webster has faced some highly-unusual circumstances.

He has worked for three different bosses in Adams, his son-in-law Tommy Smith and Strunk. He worked with three coaches in Mike Munchak, Ken Whisenhunt and Mularkey, none of who he had a strong role in hiring.

Halfway through his time in the role, the team underwent major scheme shifts on both sides of the ball, including a move from a 4-3 to a 3-4 defensive front.

Still his personnel hits have been too few. They include a home run free-agent addition in 2013 with tight end Delanie Walker and a big defensive get in outside linebacker Brian Orakpo this year, as well as draft picks Marcus Mariota, the team's quarterback, and Avery Williamson, the inside linebacker who works as the defensive signal-caller.

But the overall draft record includes underachieving guard Chance Warmack, 2013's No. 10 pick, as well as three consecutive second-round picks who've had little impact -- linebacker Zach Brown, receiver Justin Hunter (for whom the team traded up) and running back Bishop Sankey.

Sankey may best represent the team's recent failures in player acquisition.

The Titans had their choice of any back in the 2014 draft and picked him ahead of Jeremy Hill, Carlos Hyde and Devonta Freeman. Sankey was a healthy inactive for two games and didn't play in a third this season. He only resurfaced as a significant ball carrier this week after Antonio Andrews was benched for fumbling.

Underwood could advise Strunk to stick with Webster. Or she could decide on her own to stay with an executive she inherited when she became controlling owner in March. She ranks as chief among five of Bud Adams' heirs who inherited the team after his death on Oct. 21, 2013.

But if that's the direction the team heads with the general manager post, it will require a new contract for Webster.

And a franchise that's having an increasingly difficult time selling the team to its fans would have to sell them a second term of a GM who's four-year résumé does not suggest he's worthy of it.