Titans Interested In Moving Up For QB

Both Mike Vrabel and new GM Ran Carthon have provided relative endorsements for Ryan Tannehill to return for a fifth season as Tennessee’s starting quarterback. But a succession plan is clearly being considered.

Carthon trekked to each of the top four quarterback prospects’ pro days, and the Titans are one of the teams who have scheduled a visit with Anthony Richardson, who played at Carthon’s alma mater (Florida). The Titans have become a team to watch regarding a trade-up into the Cardinals’ No. 3 slot, NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah said during the latest Move the Sticks podcast (h/t Yardbarker.com).

[RELATED: Breakdown Of Top 2023 QB Prospects]

The Titans hold the No. 11 overall pick. They could certainly be competing with the Raiders and potentially the Seahawks in what may become a bidding war for the Cards’ No. 3 choice. Both teams have been constants at quarterback pro days. Seattle holds the No. 5 overall selection; Las Vegas sits at 7.

It will, of course, cost Tennessee more than either of those teams to trade into that spot. But cost that did not stop Carolina from making an eight-slot vault for the No. 1 overall pick. With an 11-to-3 move will represent the same jump, the Cardinals will be looking for a similar package. The Panthers sent the Bears their 2023 and 2025 second-round picks, their 2024 first-rounder and D.J. Moore. The 49ers moved from 12 to 3 in 2021, the Trey Lance deal. San Francisco needed to send Miami its 2022 and ’23 first-rounders, along with a 2022 third.

The Cardinals appear to be sitting in an ideal spot, being positioned to either select the draft’s top non-quarterback or receive a big trade haul that would help Monti Ossenfort begin his rebuild. The Cards GM spent the past three years with the Titans, who have a quarterback going into an age-35 season. If a Tennessee trade package were to include a player, like Carolina’s did, Ossesnfort would have an advantage here.

Injuries nearly wrecked Tannehill’s career before his resurgence in Nashville. He missed 24 games from 2016-18, most of them due to knee trouble. The former top-10 pick, however, did not miss any time from the time he replaced Marcus Mariota (October 2019) through the end of the 2021 season, when an injury-riddled Titans team rallied to the AFC’s No. 1 seed. That came after a Titans trip to the AFC championship game — during a 2019 season in which Tannehill averaged 9.6 yards per attempt, a figure that remains in the top 10 all time — and won the AFC South in 2020. Tannehill missed five games last season and has undergone ankle surgery.

One season remains on Tannehill’s four-year, $118MM contract. He is on the Titans’ books at $36.6MM, which is actually $2MM lower than his 2022 cap number. The 12th-year veteran would make sense as a bridge player for the organization and, if the Titans follow through on a trade-up maneuver, could use this season as a launching pad for a free agency deal elsewhere in 2024.

While C.J. Stroud went to Vrabel’s alma mater, the Panthers are the odds-on favorites to draft the Ohio State alum. Carolina has also been linked to Bryce Young at No. 1, with the less proven Richardson on the radar as well. If Stroud and Young are off the board, teams who view Richardson (13 college starts) as a high-ceiling prospect worth developing will have to deal with the Cardinals to leapfrog the QB-needy Colts. Josh Dobbs has returned to the Browns, and Malik Willis did not look ready to take the reins as a rookie. Carthon has no ties to the 2022 third-rounder. A more coveted QB prospect looks to be on the new GM’s radar.

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