We heard several weeks ago that Tennessee would make an effort to retain Tannehill this offseason if he continued to perform well down the stretch, but Russini’s report suggests that the Titans are now sold on the man who has led them to a 5-1 record since taking over for the disappointing Marcus Mariota.
Indeed, despite rumors that Tennessee could put the franchise tag on Tannehill, Russini suggests that the Titans are not considering the tag but are thinking about the type of contract that would definitively make Tannehill their starting QB for the foreseeable future. That is quite a development for a player who rarely lived up to his billing as a first-round pick with the Dolphins and who was only acquired by Tennessee in an effort to push Mariota.
But Tannehill has the 7-5 Titans in the thick of the AFC playoff race, and outside scouts have been just of fond of his play as Tennessee. Plus, he has been much more than a game manager, as he leads the league with 9.1 yards-per-attempt and a 113.9 QB rating. Given his history, contract negotiations could be complicated, but at this point, it would not be surprising to see Tannhill land something akin to the four-year, $88MM pact (with over $50MM guaranteed) that Nick Foles received from the Jaguars this year.
Interestingly, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com says the Titans have not discussed an extension for running back Derrick Henry, who is also eligible for unrestricted free agency this offseason. While Tannehill has been great, Henry is the motor that makes the Titans’ offense run, and the team has finally committed to giving him a bell cow workload in 2019. With four games left to play, he has already set career-highs in rushing yards (1,140), receiving yards (200), and total TDs (13).
Of course, teams have been hesitant to pay top-dollar for running backs in recent years, and some of those who have taken the plunge have been burned. But given his fairly light usage over his first two years in the league and his ability to dominate a game, Henry would seem to be a good bet for a second contract. The Titans have a policy of not negotiating extensions in-season, but the fact that they have not internally discussed a Henry re-up is surprising.
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