The key to the deal was Michael Turner signing the restricted free agent tender, freeing the Chargers to trade him. Had he held out from signing, the Bolts would not have been able to attempt to make a deal because they would, technically, not have his rights under contract – even though he could no longer negotiate with any other team.
"From a timing standpoint, I think something can be done if it all fell into place," Titans general manager Mike Reinfeldt said.
There is no more fish out of water – the contract signing was the first thing to fall in place.
Second on the agenda is working with Bus Cook, Turner's agent, and being amiable to contract extension talks.
"We've had some conversations with him," Reinfeldt added. "You have an understanding with the agent on what the deal is going to be then teams go ahead and make the trade."
Meeting the demands of A. J. Smith is the toughest part. Smith has held firm, as per his usual stance, in his asking price. He wants a first round pick. It does not have to be this year and could be next – it just has to happen.
The rest of the deal could surely be worked out after that price is met. Throw in some cookies – and a fish bowl – and it is game on. If the Titans were to offer the 19th pick in this year's draft, the Chargers would be quite happy. If next year's pick is the target – more likely – the Bolts would demand a first day pick this year. Give a little and get a lot.
Turner rushed for over 500 yards last year as a backup to LaDainian Tomlinson and has averaged 6.0 yards per carry over a three-year career. If he hits the open market next year, there will be a bidding war for his services – and the Titans will be playing on a level field to acquire him.
Are they willing to wait it out?
"If you have two willing partners then logistically it's pretty easy to pull off," Reinfeldt said of a draft-day trade. "If you find the right team, the right player and it makes since to everyone on our staff then it's a matter of e-mailing the league and it's essentially done. So it's pretty easy to logistically pull off, but it's more getting a meeting of the minds is the toughest thing."
The steps have been taken. The fish in on the banks of the river. He may find his way to water – but the clock is running out. By Saturday afternoon, he will be either dead or alive.