INDIANAPOLIS — In order to retain the rights to tight end Bo Scaife and receive compensation, the Tennessee Titans will have pay nearly $5 million just to tender him as a restricted free agent.
Indications are the Titans plan to go ahead and place a restricted tender on Scaife, even though it will cost them $4.9 million to do so this season, according to the talk here at the start of the NFL Combine.
Scaife was franchised by the Titans last year and given a tender amount of $4.46 million. Under the rules of the collective bargaining agreement, even in an uncapped year, the Titans would have to pay Scaife 110 percent of his previous year’s salary or the $4.9 million.
Because there likely won’t be a salary cap this year, it means Scaife will not become an unrestricted free agent and instead would be restricted as a five-year veteran.
In one sense the blow of the $4.9 million salary might not be as difficult to absorb because of the absence of the salary cap. However, it does give the Titans plenty more options rather than simply not tendering the veteran tight end and allowing him to walk away with no compensation and making him an unrestricted free agent. There is one way the Titans can tender Scaife and avoid paying the high salary. They could tender him at $1.226 million and choose the option of no compensation in return if a team signs him to an offer they choose not to match.
By tendering Scaife in any fashion, it would give the Titans one more year of his services and allow the team to continue working toward an extension if it so desires.
Also, don’t rule out the possibility that the Titans could make the veteran tight end available for trade, if they are confident that Jared Cook and Craig Stevens can handle the load in 2010, or if they opt to re-sign Alge Crumpler, who is an unrestricted free agent.
Scaife, 29, caught 45 passes for 440 yards and one touchdown last season for Tennessee. He had a career-high 58 receptions in 2008, and throughout his career has been one of Vince Young’s favorite targets and closest friends on the team.
Scaife was originally a sixth-round pick from the University of Texas in 2005.