Mariota, the No. 2 pick in this year's NFL draft, has yet to sign with the Titans. He is the only first-round draft pick still unsigned.
Underwood said the team has always had offset language in its player contracts and said it's important to keep that precedent with high-round draft picks such as Mariota. Offset language lets teams receive guaranteed money back in the event that a player signs with another team after being released.
The Titans are set to begin training camp on July 31. Underwood said he doesn't expect a deal to be struck until closer to the start of camp.
“Getting a first-round draft pick, a quarterback, signed and in camp on time, it's a big deal,” he said. “It's something we need to be focused on. But using that or any other excuse to subvert the negotiating process, that's faulty logic.
“You still need to stick to your guns about what it is you're trying to achieve in the contract negotiation. You may need to use some fallback position. But getting your first-round draft pick to camp on time is important. Sticking to your guns about what you need to get in a contract is also important.”
Tennessee finished 2–14 last season.
- Molly Geary