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Alterraun Verner wants big payday, sort of

Tennessee Titans cornerback Alterraun Verner.

Tennessee Titans cornerback Alterraun Verner. Credit: AP / Elaine Thompson

Alterraun Verner said his free agency isn’t all about the money. At least not directly.

The highly-coveted Tennessee Titans cornerback who hits the open market on Tuesday was on SiriusXM’S Mad Dog Sports Radio on Monday saying that he wants a big contract not for the cash, but for the clout.

"Money is (a priority) but it isn't,” he said. “I look at it differently. Some look at it tangibly. I look at it as more of a respect value … I would feel more obliged to go to a team that paid me $6 or $7 million and made me one of the highest-paid players on the team than go to a team that paid me $8 or $9 million and I wasn't one of the highest-paid players on the team.”

Former Giants general manager George Young used to quip: “When they say it’s not about the money, it’s about the money.” That’s basically what Verner is saying here. Maybe he would be a perfect fit for the Giants!

But the essence of his statement seems to rule out the Giants where players such as Victor Cruz, Will Beatty, Cullen Jenkins, Chris Snee (for now), Jason Pierre-Paul, Mathias Kiwanuka and of course Eli Manning make most of the money under the salary cap. All of them are Super Bowl winners, by the way. And that doesn’t include the possibilities of re-signing Justin Tuck or Jon Beason. The Giants have expressed interest in Verner, but it’s unclear how long they’ll stay in the bidding as the pricetag approaches $10 million per season.

But Verner did say in the radio interview that he was open to the Giants as a landing spot. He also mentioned (or had mentioned to him and concurred) the Jets, the 49ers, the Patriots and the Broncos as possibilities. Interestingly, the Jets would likely fit into his “highest-paid player” theory the best.

“[Playing for Rex and the Jets] could be a [great fit],” Verner said on Sirius’ Mad Dog Radio. “[Darrelle] Revis and [Antonio] Cromartie both thrived in that system.”

The Jets jettisoned the 29-year-old Cromartie on Sunday in an effort to clear salary cap space – paving the way for a younger, healthier cornerback to take his starting spot in 2014.

The Titans drafted Verner in the fourth round of the 2010 draft. But in the lead-up to free agency, the organization “didn't leave too much room to bring me back,” he said. “…I feel like they weren't pressing to [keep me].”

Chances are that Verner already has a good idea where he’s heading.

“I think it’ll be a quick process,” he said of the decision-making that will start to take place at 4 p.m. on Tuesday. If it hasn’t already.

With Kimberley A. Martin


New York Sports