The Tennessee Titans will pass on signing Jason Babin to a long-term contract, according to the defensive end.
Babin is scheduled to become a free agent on March 4, the day that a lockout would begin, and is headed there as he said the Titans have declined their overtures regarding a contract extension.
Last week, Babin indicated to TitanInsider that his agent, Richard Rosa, was scheduled to talk to the Titans about an extension. There was also speculation that Tennessee might use the franchise tag on the 30-year-old defensive end who had 12.5 sacks after joining the Titans last year on a one-year, $1 million contract. Babin earned Pro Bowl honors with the Titans after having bounced through four other organizations since being a first-round pick by Houston in 2004.
“They told my agent they are letting me go to free agency and passing on the opportunity to sign me to a long-term deal,” Babin told TitanInsider. “Sad I know. But I have much love for the Titans fans. They're great.”
Babin told TitanInsider last week that when he signed in Tennessee last year that he promised the Titans he would play well and was told that if he did, he would be rewarded with a long-term contract. He reiterated that statement on Friday.
“That's what they told me to my face. And I definitely exceeded my expectations and theirs,” he said. “It's not like I'm asking for Julius Peppers money. We haven't even discussed money. I was just hoping to have a little bit of long-term security.”
Babin says the Titans' inactivity regarding an extension tells him all he needs to know.
“Just because you don't take action, in a way, you're taking action by your inaction,” Babin said. “It means I'm going to free agency. Once they let me pass the free agency date, whether that's March 4 or July 4, that's pretty much the writing on the wall.”
Babin made it clear that he would like to stay in Tennessee, even with defensive line coach Jim Washburn moving on to Philadelphia as defensive line coach. Tracy Rocker, formerly of Auburn, replaced him with the Titans.
“It's pretty clear they don't want me, and now they can't even lean on Washburn to coach up the guys they have or bring in,” Babin said.
As for the Titans perhaps bringing him back once the labor situation is settled, it is possible, but Babin didn't sound as if he was expecting that to happen.
“They could get back in the mix, but I think if they wanted me they would negotiate in the exclusive window now. To do it after I'm in free agency just doesn't make very good business sense,” he said.