Titans Deal For Rams' DE

Titans quarterback Steve McNair (9) is sacked by Rams' left end Kevin Carter.
Defensive end Kevin Carter, an All-Pro two years ago but a big disappointment last season, was traded by the St. Louis Rams to the Tennessee Titans on Wednesday.

The Titans, who dealt a first-round draft pick for Carter, also announced that they reached terms on a six-year contract with him. The NFL was reviewing the trade and the proposed deal, which would include a salary cap-friendly signing bonus spread over a couple years.

Until NFL approval, final figures will not be available. But the first year would cost the Titans what they planned to pay the 29th pick overall this season.

"Nothing takes the place of a first-rounder, but it would've been difficult to draft anyone of Kevin's caliber," Titans general manager Floyd Reese said at a news conference.

Reese said the deal may wind up as a sign-and-trade package where the Titans then sign the NFL's 1999 defensive player of the year to their own deal. But he hopes the deal will be completed by Friday.

"The league is going back and forth on the best way to do that," he said.

Still, the Titans couldn't be happier despite trading their top draft choice for only the fifth time in the franchise's 42-year history.

"It took a special situation for us to do it," Reese said. "We're very fond of our draft choices, and I think we've had a fair amount of success in the past with them."

Seven of their past eight No. 1 draft picks remain on the roster

led by quarterback Steve McNair, the guy the then-Oilers picked in 1995 over Carter, who became the Rams' first pick.

The trade gives the Rams two first-round picks, adding to their original No. 20 selection in April's draft. They also can dump their franchise player whose play slumped last season during a contract squabble.

St. Louis coach Mike Martz thinks the change of scenery will work well for Carter, 27, who was an All-Pro in 1999 when he led the NFL with 17 sacks but had just 10 1/2 last season.

"I think he'll have his best year at Tennessee," Martz said. "Things had gone stale with him for us. He was obsessed with his contract. It was a real distraction for our team."

It will be a cheap deal for the Titans. The Rams originally wanted several draft picks and possibly a pair of No. 1 selections.

The Titans had lost defensive end Kenny Holmes to the New Yok Giants and cornerback Denard Walker to the Denver Broncos earlier this month. Now coach Jeff Fisher isn't so worried.

"I could probably play corner for us this year now that we've got Kevin there. This is really a big step for us," Fisher said in a conference call from Palm Desert, Calif., where the NFL meetings ended Wednesday.

The trade gives the Titans the most productive pass rushing combo over the past two seasons and shores up a defense that led the NFL in fewest yards allowed last season.

During the past three seasons, Carter has had more sacks than any NFL player. Combined with Jevon Kearse, they have 53 1/2 sacks over the past two years, more than any duo on one team.

©2001 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed