AFC Notes: Mariota, Chargers, Raiders, Jags

The odd standoff between the Titans and Marcus Mariota over offset language doesn’t look to be going over well for the franchise that’s been frequently thorough in negotiating with its top rookies and consistently forgotten for its recent play. A 2-14 team digging in over a matter that probably won’t come up with the face of a franchise devoid of many recognizable faces isn’t the best look, writes Geoffrey C. Arnold of the Oregonian.

Arnold notes the contracts of Dante Fowler Jr. and Todd Gurley, two injured top-10 picks, do not include offset language, which would save the drafting — and in this instance, cutting — franchise money in the event it has to prematurely separate from a player. And Arnold predicts a deal next week is unlikely, considering the Titans’ late official additions of Taylor Lewan, Chance Warmack and Kendall Wrightthe first-round picks in the 2014, ’13 and ’12 drafts, respectively.

With Titans fans likely not losing much sleep over this minor point in Mariota’s contract, it’s not a good start to the relationship. Ben Volin of the Boston Globe went as far as saying this is a “terrible” beginning to the Titans-Mariota marriage, with an aura of distrust already swirling. Should Mariota be a bust, the Titans will have bigger problems than a few million dollars being lost, writes Volin, in the event they cave on offsets. If this indeed occurs, there will probably be new management overseeing the next quarterback’s contract negotiation.

Let’s look at some of the notes emerging from AFC cities on Saturday as training camps are less than two weeks away from beginning.

  • In light of St. Louis’ recent adjustment to its plan to keep the NFL in the city, San Diego is making a similar move. But like the Rams, the Chargers aren’t exactly that interested, writes Jonathan Horn of the San Diego Union-Tribune. The team broke off discussions with the city last month despite a stadium location being determined, and a Chargers spokesperson doesn’t see much progress in the near future. “I think the chances of getting anything done in San Diego in 2015 or even in the first part of 2016 are over for sure, but that doesn’t mean this process is over,” Chargers spokesperson Mark Fabiani told Horn.
  • Reportedly fined for his weight hovering above 230 last season, Trent Richardson is down to 225 now and hopes to play this season at around 222, reports Bill Vilona of the Pensacola News Journal. The former No. 3 overall pick is aiming to counter a steep fall from grace that now has him in a battle with Latavius Murray and Roy Helu for a Raiders starting gig that’s been anonymous for most of this century.
  • With Ace Sanders waived, the Jaguars will employ a new punt returner. Among the candidates, according to Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union, are fifth-round pick Rashad Greene, former Seahawk Bryan Walters and Tandon Doss, who was slated to replace Sanders during the wideout’s suspension last year before he suffered a season-ending ankle injury.
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