King’s Latest: Locker, Chiefs, Cousins, Mallett

Having been involved in some of the best seasons of the careers of Ben Roethlisberger, Kurt Warner and Philip Rivers, new Titans head coach Ken Whisenhunt will look to develop Jake Locker this season, as the Tennessee signal-caller enters a contract year. Asked by Peter King of if he believes Locker is the team’s quarterback of the future, Whisenhunt was cautiously optimistic.

“I hope so,” Whisenhunt said. “I feel good about what I see out here [in practice]. But you’re not getting hit out here either. The question is, can you do all the right things when you’re about to get hit?”

The Titans chose not to exercise their fifth-year option on Locker for 2015, so if he shows enough in 2014 to convince the team he’s the long-term answer, the two sides will have to negotiate a new agreement to keep him around.

Here’s more from King’s column:

  • Before teams cut down their rosters for the regular season, look for Chiefs GM John Dorsey to shop one of his tight ends and one of his kickers in an effort to land a late draft pick for 2015, says King, who suggests the Giants as a potential suitor for a tight end.
  • Evaluating a pair of backup quarterbacks who have been mentioned in trade rumors this year, King suggests that Kirk Cousins of the Redskins should be worth a second-round pick to a quarterback-needy team, but says Ryan Mallett may not net more than a seventh-round for the Patriots. In fact, King adds that he wouldn’t be shocked if the Pats could end up cutting Mallett.
  • King passes along a Jaguars-related anecdote from last season to illustrate another reason why having an NFL franchise in London would be difficult: General manager David Caldwell wanted to claim linebacker Martez Wilson off waivers last season, but the Jags were in London, and Caldwell didn’t want to cut one of his own players and send him home from Europe before the London game. The GM also wasn’t sure what kind of game shape or mental shape Wilson would be in if he arrived in London on the Friday before Sunday’s game. The linebacker was ultimately claimed by the Raiders.
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