Kearse was originally scheduled to make a base salary of $425,000 in this, the fourth year of his original five-year deal signed in 1999. Reports indicated that the original deal also included a $1 million bonus tied to sacks and a certain percentage of plays.
While both parties declined to reveal the details of the new incentives, they are all tied directly to performance, meaning Kearse can earn bonuses in key statistical areas (sacks, tackles, number of snaps played, etc.), as well as for earning postseason honors. Kearse also received an undisclosed amount of advance money as part of the incentive package.
Kearse had missed one day of the Titans' April mini-camp, tending to what he later called "family matters," though the contract situation apparently played a significant role in his absence.
Kearse and Rosenhaus had wanted to redo Kearse's original deal, which runs through 2003. But the Titans' policy is to not renegotiate contracts with more than one year remaining. Instead, the sides agreed to the new incentive-laden package.
"It's all tied to performance," Titans general manager Floyd Reese said. "I think the issue was that they wanted to renegotiate his contract with two years still left on it, and that's just something that we don't do.
"So what we tried to do was to discuss it and try to find a way to put some more incentives in there. If Jevon plays at a high level and performs like a top player, then he'll have a chance to make some extra money. If he plays like just a regular player or an average player, then he won't make the extra money."
Rosenhaus said the new incentives pleased him and has Kearse and him pointed to a new long-term extension with the Titans later on.
"We were able to do some things this year as far as incentives with the idea of doing a more long-term extension at a later date," Rosenhaus said. "I'm sure we'll begin work on a long-term deal later this season, but we're pleased with what we were able to work out. Jevon is happy, the team is happy and we're glad it could work out.
"We appreciate what they did and we'll continue to work toward an extension later on."
Kearse was the Titans' first-round pick in the 1999 NFL Draft, the 16th pick overall. He recorded 14.5 sacks as a rookie, followed by 11.5 sacks in 2000 and 10 sacks a year ago, earning Pro Bowl honors each season