Jonnu Smith

Titans GM On Isaiah Wilson, Offseason

We already talked about how Titans GM Jon Robinson confirmed the team had made contact with J.J. Watt‘s reps this morning, but there were some more interesting nuggets to come out of Robinson’s press conference.

For starters, Robinson talked about perhaps the biggest mistake of the 2020 NFL Draft, Isaiah Wilson. Tennessee drafted the offensive tackle 29th overall last April, but he played only four snaps as a rookie. After getting drafted, Wilson was arrested for DUI, received a trespass warning for attending a party at Tennessee State and twice landed on the team’s reserve/COVID-19 list. He was suspended for Week 13 for a violation of team rules and then was placed on the reserve/NFI list in December shortly after finally making his NFL debut.

Robinson revealed on Tuesday that he hasn’t spoken with Wilson since placing him on the NFI list, via Jim Wyatt of the team’s official site. Robinson said others had been in some degree of contact with the first-rounder, but he didn’t sound particularly optimistic about his future with the team. “He is going to have to make a determination on if he wants to do everything necessary to play pro football,” Robinson said bluntly.

Wilson only just turned 22 last week so he’s got time to figure it out, but it sure sounds like the Titans won’t be counting on the Georgia product for 2021. Meanwhile, Robinson seemed to indicate there’s a good chance receiver Corey Davis and tight end Jonnu Smith could walk in free agency.

Robinson said he had the same conversation with those two guys that he did with tackle Jack Conklin last year, saying the team “will make competitive offer, but wishes them the best if they opt for free agency,” Terry McCormick of TitanInsider.com tweets. Conklin, of course, left for the Browns in free agency. Davis, the fifth overall pick of the 2017 draft, is set to be a free agent since Robinson elected to decline his fifth-year option last May. Davis responded with a resurgent season, racking up a career-high 984 yards in only 14 games. It’ll be very interesting to see what kind of offers he gets on the open market.

 Finally, Robinson acknowledged that pass-rushing help was needed in one form or another. “It’s something that’s high on our list – to find guys, whatever position it is defensively – that can affect the quarterback,” he said. Tennessee ranked 30th this past year with only 19 sacks. That would certainly explain the interest in Watt.

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.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Titans TE Jonnu Smith Done For Year

Titans tight end Jonnu Smith is going to miss the rest of the season with an MCL injury, a source tells ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter). Smith, 23, went down while blocking for Derrick Henry on his historic 99-yard touchdown run and the injury proved to be serious. He’ll be placed on injured reserve this week in order to open up a spot on the roster.

Smith has largely been utilized as a blocker in Tennessee, though he has flashed his hands on occasion. In a November loss to the Colts, Smith had six grabs for 44 yards. He also scored three touchdowns during the month of November. His season ends with 20 catches for 258 yards and three TDs,

Smith, a third-round pick in the 2017 draft, has two more years to go on his rookie contract. He’s scheduled to count for $845K next season and $933K in 2020, the final year of his deal.

The Titans kept their playoff hopes alive with Thursday’s win, thanks in large part to an all-time great performance from Henry. They currently have a 27% chance of reaching the postseason, according to Five Thirty Eight, with a pair of winnable matchups on deck against the Giants and Redskins.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Draft Pick Signings: 5/16/17

Today’s draft pick signings:

  • The Titans have signed third-round tight end Jonnu Smith, the club announced today. Tennessee has now signed five of its nine-man draft class. Heading into the draft, Smith was often compared to the tight end he’ll now be playing behind with the Titans, veteran Delanie Walker. Smith, who should earn roughly $3.1MM over the life of his four-year rookie deal, has a clear path to playing time in Tennessee, as the only other tight ends on the roster aside from Walker are Jace Amaro and Phillip Supernaw.
  • The Jets announced that they’ve signed fourth-round wide receiver Chad Hansen. A Cal product, Hansen is now the fourth Jets rookie to ink a contract. After posting more than 1,200 yards and 11 touchdowns during his junior campaign, Hansen joins a wide open Gang Green depth chart at wideout. With Eric Decker coming off injury and still a release candidate, and Robby Anderson facing legal trouble, Hansen could contribute early in his rookie season.
  • The Jaguars have agreed to terms with fifth-round linebacker Blair Brown, the club announced today. While Jacksonville already boasts three starting linebackers in Myles Jack, Paul Posluszny, and Telvin Smith, the latter two are scheduled to become unrestricted free agents next spring. Brown, then, gives the Jaguars insurance at the position, and will likely serve as a high-end reserve in 2017. Heading into the draft, Lance Zierlein of NFL.com praised Brown’s “short area burst” and ability to “drop into space.”
  • The Dolphins announced that they’ve signed fifth-round defensive tackle Davon Godchaux. Miami was known to be searching for a rotational tackle to play behind Ndamukong Suh and Jordan Phillips, and Goxchaux now figures to play that role. Godchaux, an LSU product, is the sixth member of the Dolphins’ draft class to get under contract — only first-rounder Charles Harris remains unsigned.
  • The Seahawks have signed sixth-round defensive back Mike Tyson, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link). Tyson, a Cincinnati product, is expected to be used as a cornerback in Seattle after playing safety at the collegiate level.