Tuesday, March 14, 2006
Givens gets $8M bonus, chance to be No. 1 WR
By Len Pasquarelli ESPN.com
For the second day in a row, the Tennessee Titans have added one of the top players in the unrestricted market, as the team reached agreement with former New England wide receiver David Givens on a five-year contract worth $24 million.
The Titans also agreed to terms with center Kevin Mawae,
released last month by the New York Jets. The 35-year-old Mawae, a
six-time Pro Bowler, missed much of last season with a triceps
injury and will replace Justin Hartwig, who signed with Carolina.
ESPN.com's Michael Smith reports that Givens received an $8 million signing bonus. Mawae agreed to a four-year, $13 million deal, but is awaiting contract language before signing it, ESPN.com's John Clayton reported.
The addition of Givens, rated the No. 9 player in free agency by ESPN.com, should be a boon for the passing game implemented by offensive coordinator Norm Chow last season. On Monday, the Titans addressed their stated goal of adding more speed at linebacker by signing David Thornton, who had played his entire previous career with the Indianapolis Colts.
Givens, 25, should team with Drew Bennett to give the young Titans an outstanding wide receiver tandem. And with his skills set -- a precise route-runner who makes great sight adjustments, a player adept at the double-move routes, and with the ability to add yards after the catch -- he is an excellent fit for the Chow passing blueprint.
"My opportunities here to flourish were a little bit better,"
The acquisition of the former Notre Dame star should also help Bennett, who suffered through an injury plagued 2005 campaign, but who also became the focus of opposition coverage schemes because of the lack of a proven No. 2 wideout. Tennessee invested three draft choices on wide receivers in 2005 and, while all three possess NFL-caliber talent and should emerge as solid performers, none was consistently productive nor took any pressure off Bennett in the passing game.
That should not be a problem now as Givens is a consummate No. 2 receiver, a player who knows and understands his role in the big picture, and who doesn't allow ego to get in the way. He is the kind of player that quarterback Steve McNair will enjoy throwing to, because he is so fundamentally sound and works his way back to the ball so well.
A seventh-round choice in the 2002 draft, Givens has been a full-time starter for two seasons and was a part of two Super Bowl championship teams. He is coming off a 2005 season in which he appeared in 13 games and started 10 of them, and established career highs for catches (59) and yards (738), while scoring twice. He has 158 receptions for 2,214 yards and 12 touchdowns in 53 games.
Before arriving in Tennessee on Monday for a visit, Givens met with officials from the Miami Dolphins and the Houston Texans. There was also some speculation Givens might re-sign with the Patriots.
Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com. The Associated Press contributed to this report.