Jayon Brown

Titans To Bring Back LB Jayon Brown

The Titans will retain a key defensive piece for the 2021 season. They are re-signing linebacker Jayon Brown on a one-year deal, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets.

Brown turned down other offers to return to the Titans, per Pelissero, who notes the four-year Titan contributor will stay for $5.25MM. A three-year starter with Tennessee, Brown represents a key retention move for a team that is making a considerable effort to improve defensively.

Although Brown’s 2020 season did not end well, with the former fifth-round pick suffering a major elbow injury, he expressed a desire to stay in Nashville. The Titans pounced, and Brown will reprise his role as a starter alongside Rashaan Evans at inside linebacker. Evans is under contract through the 2021 season but can be retained through 2022 by the Titans picking up his fifth-year option. It would cost them a fully guaranteed $9.74MM to do so.

As for Brown, he has played well since being elevated into the Titans’ starting lineup in 2018. Brown broke out that year, delivering a versatile performance — 97 tackles, six sacks, 10 QB hits — and followed that up with a 105-tackle slate in 2019. Tennessee’s defense struggled across the board last season, but Pro Football Focus has rated Brown as a top-20 linebacker in each of the past three seasons. The UCLA alum has also excelled in coverage, a facet that makes it a bit surprising this midlevel contract was the best he could do in free agency.

But Brown is, as of now, in position to have another crack at cashing in next year. And an elbow specialist just cleared Brown to return to full football activities, Pelissero tweets. Brown figures to be joined by UFA additions Bud Dupree and Denico Autry in Tennessee’s starting lineup next season.

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Jayon Brown Hopes To Stay With Titans

Jayon Brown is on track for free agency. But, if the Titans linebacker has his druthers, he’ll stay put, as ESPN.com’s Turron Davenport writes. 

It would be huge staying with the Titans for another however-many years. I’ve grown to love the city,” Brown said. “The team drafted me, I know the system, know what’s expected of me and love the fan base. There’s a lot of comfort.”

Brown has developed into one of the Titans’ defensive leaders since joining the team as a fifth-round pick in 2017. This past season was set to be a huge platform year for the UCLA product. Instead, a complicated elbow injury shut him down in November.

This past season, the 25-year-old finished with one sack, one interception, eight passes defensed, two forced fumbles, and five tackles for loss in ten games. Previous to that, Brown logged a career-high 105 tackles in 2019. In 2018, his first year as a starter, he scored six sacks.

Up until his injury, Brown was on the field for every Titans snap in 2020. He’s an integral part of the defense, but he could find more lucrative offers elsewhere. As it stands, the Titans have less than $5MM in breathing room. Meanwhile, they’ll have to consider other internal free agents such as wide receiver Corey Davis, tight end Jonnu Smith, and cornerback Desmond King. There’s also the matter of defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, who says he wouldn’t mind staying in Nashville.

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Titans’ Jayon Brown Out For Season

We’ve unfortunately got word of another season-ending injury to pass along. The Titans won an overtime thriller over the Ravens to snap out of their slump, but they weren’t able to escape unscathed.

Linebacker Jayon Brown suffered a dislocated and fractured elbow and will miss the rest of the season as a result, a source told Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link). It’s a devastating blow for a Tennessee defense that has already struggled this year. The inside backer has been the team’s leading tackler in 2020. A fifth-round pick in 2017, Brown became a starter during his second year in the league when he had 97 tackles, six sacks, and six passes defended.

He had played almost every single snap this year, so it’s hard to overstate how big of a loss this is. Starting cornerback Adoree’ Jackson is still hurt, and they just placed edge rusher Jadeveon Clowney on injured reserve. They’re going to be significantly shorthanded on defense as they enter a pivotal division game in Week 12 against the Colts which could determine who wins the AFC South.

Brown, a UCLA product, should be ready well in advance of the 2021 season, but this certainly wasn’t the end to the rookie contract he was hoping for. He’ll now be an unrestricted free agent in March, and while this hopefully won’t hurt his market too much, it certainly won’t help. Either way, the 25-year-old should be in for a big raise this offseason.

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Titans Unsure About Extensions For Jonnu Smith, Others

Historically, the Titans have a point to lock up key players before they can leave via free agency. Taylor Lewan and Kevin Byard both landed extensions well in advance, but the ongoing uncertainty may leave players like tight end Jonnu Smith in limbo, GM Jon Robinson says. 

I’m a big analogy guy,” Robinson told Paul Kuharsky. “It’s no different than if I was if I was working for Pepsi or Coke, and I knew that we weren’t going to have as many sales. …You wouldn’t go out and buy a new house.

I don’t know what that’s going to look like. It’s something that we will certainly talk about. You know, we’ve talked to the players and the reps. There’s a lot of uncertainty right now with everything, and I would say certainly with the salary cap too, because we’ve got to be mindful. What you don’t want to do is do something and then you’ve got to undo it or try to unpack it a year, two years from now, given the uncertainty of the salary cap.”

Smith isn’t the only notable player entering his walk year. Linebacker Jayon Brown and nose tackle DaQuan Jones also have one season to go on their respective deals, but they could be left to wait as the Titans try to get a grip on their future finances. The league is facing a potential $4 billion loss in revenue, which would shrink the cap by about 35%. The NFL has pitched the idea of putting a portion of player salaries into escrow to avoid a dramatic drop, but the union is pushing back.

Smith was mostly been as a blocker in his early years, but he flashed his hands last year. The 24-year-old (25 in August) caught 35 passes for 439 yards and three scores, giving the Titans a glimpse of what could come. The former third-round pick is slated to count for just $933K this year and he’s in line for a pay bump in 2021.

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Playoff Injury Updates: Seahawks, Brown, Iupati, Fant, Titans, Brown, Packers, Clark

The latest injury news for the divisional round games:

  • The Seahawks’ offensive line is in dire shape. Starting left guard Mike Iupati is listed as doubtful, and it looks like he’ll miss his second straight game. Even more concerning, head coach Pete Carroll said both tackles Duane Brown and George Fant would be game-time decisions. Brown has missed the last few games, and Fant has been filling in for him at left tackle. Fant played 100 percent of the snaps in Seattle’s win over Philly last week, but is dealing with a groin injury. If he’s unable to go the plan is to start Chad Wheeler at left tackle, per Joe Fann of NBC Sports. Wheeler signed to Seattle’s practice squad back in October, and hasn’t appeared in a regular season game since October. He started a bunch of games for the Giants the previous two seasons, with disastrous results. If he’s forced into the lineup, the Packers’ pass-rushing duo of Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith will be licking their chops.
  • The Titans will be without a key piece of their defense as they look to pull off a second straight upset against the Ravens. Starting inside linebacker Jayon Brown has been ruled out for this weekend’s game. Brown started against the Patriots last week, but left the game with a shoulder injury. It’s a blow to Tennessee’s run defense as they look to slow down the league’s best rushing attack.
  • The Titans might not be the only team without a key defensive piece. Packers defensive tackle Kenny Clark, who started all 16 games this season, is being listed as questionable. Clark was on a tear down the stretch, racking up 4.5 sacks in Green Bay’s last four games. If he doesn’t go it’ll help mitigate some of Seattle’s offensive line losses.

Draft Pick Signings: 5/25/17

The latest draft picks to sign their first NFL contracts:

  • The Cardinals have signed their second-round selection, former Washington safety Budda Baker, leaving first-round linebacker Haason Reddick as the only member of their seven-pick class without a contract. Baker, whom Arizona drafted after trading up from No. 45 overall to No. 36 in a deal with the Bears, closed out his college career last year with an All-America season, piling up 70 tackles (9.5 for loss), three sacks and two interceptions. He should emerge as the Cardinals’ long-term answer at strong safety, potentially giving the team an enviable tandem with Baker and free safety Tyrann Mathieu.
  • The Buccaneers have inked second-round safety Justin Evans to a deal, tweets FanRag’s Roy Cummings. With Evans under contract, the only one of the Bucs’ six picks who’s unsigned is third-rounder Chris Godwin. Evans, the 50th pick, played the previous two seasons at Texas A&M, breaking out as a playmaker in 2016 with four interceptions. The 6-foot, 199-pound Evans is an “extremely physical hitter,” per NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein, who notes that he has the makings of a “plus NFL starter.”
  • The Jets now have eight of their nine selections under contract, having signed third-round wide receiver ArDarius Stewart (first-round safety Jamal Adams is the lone straggler). The 5-11, 204-pound Stewart went 79th overall after emerging as a legitimate weapon at Alabama in 2015 and combining for 117 receptions and 12 touchdowns in his final two years with the Crimson Tide. Stewart now joins Quincy Enunwa, Robby Anderson and fourth-rounder Chad Hansen as intriguing Jets wideouts who are 25 or younger.
  • The Titans have signed the 155th overall pick, fifth-round linebacker Jayon Brown. The ex-UCLA Bruin ended his college tenure in 2016 with career highs in tackles (119), tackles for loss (7.5), interceptions (three) and sacks (two), though Zierlein pegs the 6-foot, 231-pounder as an undersized player who “lacks the functional strength to become anything more than a sub-package cover linebacker.”
  • The Vikings have finally gotten to work on signing their 11 picks, having come to terms with fifth-round receiver Rodney Adams (No. 170 overall) and seventh-round defensive end Ifeadi Odenigbo (No. 220), per Matt Vensel of the Star Tribune. Formerly with both Toledo and South Florida, the speedy Adams is likely to make an impact as a kick returner and/or a fourth or fifth receiver early in his career, according to Zierlein. Odenigbo, meanwhile, was a prolific sack artist at Northwestern, where he took down opposing quarterbacks 23 times over four seasons – including a personal-best 10 in 2016.

Titans Get No. 155 Pick From Eagles

The Titans traded up with the Eagles to select UCLA linebacker Jayon Brown. Tennessee gave up a sixth-round pick (No. 214) and its fifth-rounder (No. 164) for the right to move up nine spots to 155 and take Brown, Jeff McLane of Philly.com tweets.

Brown is coming off back-to-back 90-plus-tackle seasons, with 2016 ending with 119 and seven for loss. He will join a Titans team that’s boasted some continuity there in recent years, with each of its incumbent starters — Derrick Morgan, Brian Orakpo, Wesley Woodyard and Avery Williamson — having started there for at least the past two seasons in Tennessee’s 3-4. Williamson, though, stands to be a UFA after 2017.