Sir Lance now a Titan

Lance Schulters' days as a 49er ended on April 2 when the team halted its halfhearted pursuit of the one-time Pro Bowl safety and signed free agent Tony Parrish to take his place. Eight days later, Schulters found his new home on Wednesday, agreeing to terms with the Tennessee Titans on a contract that may or may not pay him the kind of money he was looking for from the Niners

Schulters' deal will be for five seasons with an option year and is worth approximately $20 million. The deal is uniquely structured in that Schulters will not receive a signing bonus this year (the Niners were offering him a bonus in the $3 million to $3.5 million range). He is scheduled to earn a base salary of $1.5 this season, but will receive $1 million in advance. By exercising the deal's option year (2007) next March, the Titans will owe Schulters a $3.5 million bonus in March of 2004. Schulters will make about $8.5 million over the first three years of the contract and $11.5 million over the first four years. The Niners signed Parrish to a five-year deal worth $12.025 million with a $3 million signing bonus. San Francisco's offer to Schulters was believed to be higher than that, but not significantly higher. Schulters had a fine four seasons with the Niners, who drafted him in the fourth round in 1998. He was an outspoken leader in the locker room and one of the league's elite safeties in run support. But the Niners were not happy about some of his ramblings - most notably Schulters' calling St. Louis' receivers "soft" the week before San Francisco's 27-14 loss to the Rams - and he may need shoulder surgery after coming off two knee surgeries before last season. Several NFL observers actually are calling Parrish and upgrade over Schulters. And, after signing with the Niners last week, Parrish made it clear he wasn't worried about fitting into the team's dynamic young defense or having any big shoes to fill. "I don't feel like I have to fill any shoes," Parrish said. "I think I'll just wear mine and that will be fine." The Niners are counting on it after allowing their starting safety of the past three seasons to walk away - whether they pushed him in that direction or not.

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