Titans, Ravens agree to McNair trade
After an offseason of not being able to work out in the Titans facility, Steve McNair is finally going to have a new office to call home -- in Baltimore.
Pending a physical, McNair is on his way to Baltimore in a trade that is believed to involve a fourth-round choice in 2007. Those were terms that have been discussed for the past several weeks between the two teams. There is a possibility the draft pick could become a third-round choice depending on his playing time and performance in 2006.
The Titans released a statement Wednesday that spelled out McNair's departure. "We have granted permission to Baltimore to give Steve McNair a physical, which we expect to take place in the next 24 hours," the Titans said in statement. "Upon passing a physical, final trade terms will be agreed upon."
The trade ends one of the strangest exits of a franchise quarterback in recent NFL history. McNair, a 10-year institution with the Titans who helped take the team to a Super Bowl, had to win a grievance against the Titans to be allowed in the facility because the team feared an injury. McNair, considered a warrior who fought through numerous injuries to play during his 10-year career, had a $23 million cap number and the team didn't want him to be hurt and then be stuck with the high salary cap number.
After winning the grievance, the Titans informed him last week that he failed the team physical at the end of last season and needed to take another physical in order to return to the team. McNair and his agent, Bus Cook, were in the process of trying to schedule that physical when the team decided to let him go the Ravens.
During the second day of the NFL draft in April, the Titans gave Cook permission to talk to the Ravens about a new contract. Cook worked out a deal that gave him an $11 million signing bonus and a $1 million base salary. That was more than the $9 million he was scheduled to make in base salary for the Ravens in 2006.
In acquiring McNair, the Ravens feel they have received the final piece of the puzzle that could enable them to challenge the Steelers and the Bengals for the NFC North title. The 33-year-old McNair was the third pick in the 1995 draft and the Titans did the right thing in grooming him for greatness.
They only let him start six games during his first two seasons in Houston. By his third season, McNair was a starter in which the franchise was able to start building a winner. His completion percentage and quarterback rating kept improving as the team improve around him.
He went to the Pro Bowl in 2000, 2003 and 2005.
Though Kyle Boller is currently the Ravens starting quarterback, McNair goes to the team with enough time for him to win the starting job and try to take the team to the playoffs. He reunites with two former Titans -- wide receiver Derrick Mason and cornerback Samari Rolle. Mason and Rolle signed with the Ravens last year.
For McNair, the trade ends a tough exit from the Titans. While he thought he was going to have to take a Thursday physical in Nashville for a team that no longer wanted him, McNair can take a Thursday physical with a Raven team that has waited the entire offseason to get him.
John Clayton is a senior writer for ESPN.com.
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