Not wanting to pony up an $8.5 million bonus that would have been triggered Monday, the Tennessee Titans released running back Travis Henry, who ran for 1,211 yards and seven touchdowns last year-- the best year for a Tennessee running back since Eddie George in 2000.
Is this kind of thing... standard procedure? Because to this (admittedly not fully football-business-educated) guy, it seems like the Titans are being dicks by not paying Henry the bonus that he's due. They certainly don't seem like they're displeased with his performance or anything.
And I'm still not too thrilled with how they treated their former face of the franchise, Steve McNair, last year.
So what the heck's going on with the Titans, anyway?
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Everyone in the NFL knows that the only money that they are guaranteed is their signing bonus money. Most NFL contracts include large amounts of money that the player is never going to receive. I think the only purpose is so the agent can claim that he signed the player to a gigantic contract.
This was a known situation dating back to October: "Travis Henry will have to re-negotiate his contract with Tennessee after this season or become a free agent. When Henry scored a touchdown this season, he triggered a ridiculous $8 million option in his contract that the Titans have no intention of paying. They will have to renegotiate with him or let Henry test the free agent market. With LenDale White around, Henry could get a decent payday elsewhere if he keeps playing well." He choose not to renegotiate, so he was cut.
It was the right decision for the Titans. Travis Henry doesn't deserve that kind of money. He was an average back whose conventional stats make him look better than he actually was. He has had trouble staying healthy, he's twice violated the league's substance abuse policy (third violation is a one year-suspension), and he's 28 years old, at a position where most players start to decline by age 30. According to research done by pro-football-reference.com, statistical regression says he'll have 325 more rushes before he retires.
You can NOT apply the same logic. Sapp creamed Clifton who didn't even see him coming, was not carrying the ball, and never had a chance of being a credible threat to the ball carrier...he was 30 fricking yards from the action.