“We’re not going to send him out there and ‘have at it,'” Mularkey said Friday. “He’s still going to have some limited reps, not as much as he had in the offseason camps, but it’s not going to be like he’s been healthy the whole time. We’re going to watch him.”
Mariota has been “cleared to go” for practice seven months after breaking his right leg, but the Titans are being careful with their franchise quarterback.
Earlier this week, Mariota said he anticipated being “ready to go with everything.”
Mularkey said he doesn’t plan on this being “an extensive hold-back” for Mariota, but he would prefer to ease him into full action because they have time until the games begin.
While Mariota will be present and limited Saturday, he might be missing rookie receiver Corey Davis. Mularkey confirmed Davis was the only Titan who didn’t report to training camp Friday.
“We’re talking to him,” Mularkey said.
Neither the Titans nor Davis want a repeat of the Joey Bosa situation with the Chargers last summer. Bosa missed all of the 2016 training camp and preseason due to a contract dispute. He didn’t sign until Aug. 29 and didn’t play in a game until October after an injury. Davis is represented by the same agency as Bosa.
Mularkey didn’t want to get into the holdout “what ifs” until he saw whether Davis showed up for practice Saturday.
“I’m not gonna address that until he misses the first day or two, which I’m hoping he doesn’t, obviously,” Mularkey said. “I’ll address it if it gets into a period where he’s missing time.”
The rookie wage scale, which changed in 2011, was supposed to help fix these situations. Each draft pick has a specific salary slot with only the payment details being negotiable.
Holdouts have decreased since the change, but the details often cause problems. The Titans have insisted on offset language for their recent first-round picks, a stipulation agents often fight.
Teams and players’ agents also disagree on payment schedule of first-round picks. Agents typically request guaranteed roster bonuses paid out in the offseason, training camp or the start of the season, while teams prefer higher base salaries paid out weekly during the season.
Davis was already limited for most of offseason workouts as he recovered from an ankle injury, so these training camp practices will be crucial for him to develop chemistry with Mariota and learn the offense.
“Every single rep is important,” Mularkey said.