Titans executive doubts Jake Locker's NFL future, per report

Michael Thomas

Locker's injury problems and inconsistent play may drive the Titans to look elsewhere for a starting quarterback in 2014.

Tennessee Titans quarterback Jake Locker made strides during his third year in the NFL, but apparently that wasn't enough to win over team brass. At least one high-ranking Titans executive is concerned that the former first-round draft pick does not have the ability to succeed in the NFL, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Locker threw eight touchdowns to just four picks and had a career high in completion percentage in 2013, but saw his year once again end prematurely due to injury. He played in just seven contests before foot surgery landed him on the injured reserve list. He also missed five games in 2012 with a shoulder problem.

In early December, a rumor emerged that the Titans, who are battling looming salary cap issues, have already decided not to exercise their fifth-year option on Locker's contract. If true, that would mean Locker will be playing his final season in Tennessee in 2014. The fifth-year option would be worth $13 million.

Rumors also floated that the team was prepared to go after Jay Cutler prior to his re-signing with the Chicago Bears last week, a signal that they are looking to bring in Locker's replacement this offseason. Tennessee heavily pursued Peyton Manning in 2012, just one year after it selected Locker with the No. 8 pick in the 2011 draft.

Locker told ESPN this week that he didn't mind the team bringing in additional quarterbacks, provided he gets a chance to prove himself:

"I'm OK with that," Locker said. "As long as I get the opportunity to compete for it, I'll be thankful for it."

The Titans have locked up the No. 11 pick in the upcoming NFL Draft and could look to grab a quarterback there. While they would have to move up to have a chance at Teddy Bridgewater, Derek Carr or Blake Bortles, it's possible that Johnny Manziel could fall to them.

If not, they could wait for later rounds or turn to free agency. Among the notable names scheduled to hit the unrestricted market this offseason are Michael Vick, Josh Freeman and Matt Flynn.

After firing head coach Mike Munchak on the heels of a 7-9 season, Tennessee could be preparing a massive overhaul. The Titans may opt to release long-time starting running back Chris Johnson, who has failed to live up to the massive contract they handed him in 2009. Johnson said earlier this week that he wants to go to a team that will utilize him properly.

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