Nashville, TN (Sports Network) - The Tennessee Titans have decided not to place the franchise player tag on star defensive end Jevon Kearse or any of their impending free agents.
The Titans have five potential unrestricted free agents -- Kearse, tight end Erron Kinney, defensive tackle Robaire Smith, quarterback Billy Volek and safety Scott McGarrahan.
Kearse and the Titans have been discussing a long-term contract. A franchise tag would have guaranteed him a one-year salary of $6.5 million.
"This does not end the process with Jevon," said Titans general manager Floyd Reese. "We would still like to have him as part of this team, just not under the franchise tag parameters.
"The franchise salary is also a problem in that it would force us to cut an additional $4.5 million more from our salary cap number than a long-term contract would."
Kearse led the Titans with 9 1/2 sacks during the 2003 season, on the heels of an injury-plagued 2002 campaign. He has 47 1/2 sacks in five years with the Titans, who selected him in the first round of the 1999 draft out of Florida.
"In Jevon's case, we feel like he needs to have a great off-season and a great training camp to have a great year; and franchising him wouldn't be conducive in creating this scenario," Reese added.