6’4 Quarterback Marcus Mariota is a big deal in the world of NFL — or at least he has the potential to be, but his contract negotiations with the Tennessee Titans have stalled because of a clause stipulating the Hawaiian is not allowed to surf.
The 22-year old from the island of Oahu recently won the Heisman Trophy with his college team the Oregon Ducks, and was the second player chosen in the first round of this year’s NFL draft, which is where professional teams take their pick of the year’s most promising college graduates. In other words he’s a highly-valued commodity — valued to the tune of around $23m, in fact, which is what the Tennessee Titans are prepared to offer him. And because they value him so highly, they don’t want him jeopardising his fitness by surfing. The “no-surfing” clause the Titans are pushing for would apply both during the season and in the off-season.
A clause forbidding an athlete from engaging in other potentially dangerous activities is hardly unusual in the world of professional sport; what is unusual is the Hawaiian’s obstinacy in the face of his prospective employers’ demands. The exact amount of money he has so far turned down has not been specified, but the first pick of the draft, Jameis Winston, was offered $23.35m by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, plus a bonus of $16.7m for signing; third pick Dante Fowler’s contract was worth $23m, in addition to a bonus of $15.3m. It follows that Mariota has turned down a figure not far shy of $4om.
Negotiations are ongoing, and it’s expected that the player will still eventually sign for the Titans, but presumably with a contract worth slightly more — or perhaps slightly less, but that allows him the freedom to surf.