Andre Dillard

Titans Likely To Release T Andre Dillard

The Titans rolled out an offensive line with four new Week 1 starters this season; they look set to make at least one major change ahead of the 2024 campaign.

Benched during his Tennessee debut, Andre Dillard should be expected to return to free agency soon. The Titans are likely to move on from the former first-round pick, Turron Davenport of ESPN.com notes.

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The team had relocated Nicholas Petit-Frere from right to left tackle shortly after his gambling suspension ended early, but his season-ending injury paused that experiment. Stopgap RT Chris Hubbard is also unsigned for 2024, creating questions. In addition to ranking Dillard 73rd overall among tackles, Pro Football Focus slotted rookie Jaelyn Duncan (five starts) last at the position.

Dillard signed a three-year, $29MM deal to become Tennessee’s Taylor Lewan replacement at left tackle. Amid a cost-cutting spree last year, the Titans cut both Lewan and center Ben Jones. They also let four-year right guard starter Nate Davis sign with the Bears. The team brought in low-cost starters Hubbard and Daniel Brunskill but gave Dillard a midlevel accord despite his failure to commandeer an Eagles starting job. After Dillard gave up 12 sacks in just 297 pass-blocking snaps, the Washington State alum should not be expected to factor into Tennessee’s 2024 O-line plans.

Due to the Titans adding void years to Dillard’s deal to lower the 2023 cap hit, a post-June 1 cut might be the best way to go here. Should Tennessee release Dillard without that designation, it would cost nearly $8MM in dead money. Cutting Dillard with a post-June 1 designation would save the team $6.5MM this year.

GM Ran Carthon mentioned the idea of Peter Skoronski moving from guard to left tackle, his primary college position, as a potential solution. That would create a guard need — during an offseason when Brunskill and center Aaron Brewer are also unsigned — but sliding last year’s No. 11 overall pick to the highest-profile O-line post would be a rather important move through a big-picture lens. Skoronski being moved to LT would likely prompt the Titans to slide Petit-Frere back to the right side. Petit-Frere worked as the team’s primary RT starter throughout his rookie season, seeing a gambling suspension and a November shoulder injury stall his progress.

For now, Skoronski and Petit-Frere appear to be the only locked-in starters for the Titans moving forward. For a second straight year, the team has many questions to answer along its offensive front.

Titans HC Mike Vrabel Does Not Intend To Fire Coaches; Jaelyn Duncan To Start At LT

The Titans are reportedly committed to head coach Mike Vrabel, which presumably means that rumblings about his job security — along with rumors connecting him to the Patriots’ possible HC vacancy — will not amount to much. Likewise, Vrabel has no intention of firing his staffers, as ESPN’s Turron Davenport reports.

In his first year as the Titans’ offensive coordinator, Tim Kelly‘s unit is sixth-worst in terms of both total offense and passing yards per game. Since the team posted the third-fewest passing yards per game in 2022 — when Kelly served as passing game coordinator — it makes sense that Tennessee fans would be a bit restless.

To be fair, quarterback Ryan Tannehill played in just 12 games in 2022, and in his stead, the Titans were forced to turn to rookie Malik Willis — a decidedly raw prospect — and Joshua Dobbs, who was plucked off the Lions’ taxi squad at the end of the 2022 campagin. This year, Tannehill struggled before being sidelined with an ankle injury, and another rookie, Will Levis, has taken the reins. While Levis has shown flashes and is a more polished product than Willis was, he has also exhibited typical first-year growing pains.

That is to say nothing of the team’s general dearth of high-end receiving talent, as the draft-day trade of A.J. Brown in 2022 continues to sting, and this year’s signing of DeAndre Hopkins has not yielded consistent results. The Titans’ offensive line is also rife with injury and performance issues.

Shane Bowen, meanwhile, is in his third season as the Titans’ defensive coordinator. Tennessee finished 12th in total defense in 2021 — a showing that helped the club to a 12-5 record and a divisional round appearance — but slipped to 23rd in 2022 and presently ranks 22nd through the first 10 games of the 2023 season.

It is unclear whether Davenport’s report means that Vrabel is committed to his subordinates on a long-term basis, or merely that there will be no in-season firings. The fact that Kelly implemented a new style of offense upon taking the OC role suggests that he may be given another year to make it work, and Vrabel may want to keep him aboard if for no other reason than to maintain continuity for Levis. However, that is merely speculation. For Kelly to retain his position, the offense may need to demonstrate marked improvement down the stretch, and the same may be said for Bowen and his defense.

Regardless of what happens on the coaching front, the much-maligned O-line will see another major change. Vrabel told reporters, including Davenport, that rookie Jaelyn Duncan will start at left tackle in the team’s Week 12 matchup with the Panthers today.

Duncan, whom the Titans selected in the sixth round of this year’s draft, will be the fourth player to line up on the blind side for Tennessee in 2023. Andre Dillard, who joined the club on a three-year, $29MM contract in March, struggled mightily over the first five games of the year, and he was replaced by Nicholas Petit-Frere in the middle of a Week 6 loss to the Ravens. Unfortunately, Petit-Frere sustained a season-ending shoulder injury during Tennessee’s Week 9 loss to the Steelers, which re-opened the door for Dillard. Then, in Week 10, Dillard sustained a concussion, which ruled him out of the Titans’ Week 11 loss to the Jaguars and forced the team to deploy Dillon Radunz at left tackle.

Since regular right tackle Chris Hubbard is dealing with a biceps injury, Radunz will man the right tackle post today, leaving Dillard and Duncan as the only LT options. Although Dillard has cleared the league’s concussion protocol, Duncan will get the nod.

In 25 snaps at right tackle in relief of the injured Hubbard last week, Duncan acquitted himself fairly well, and it stands to reason that Vrabel & Co. would want to get an extended look at a player who had top-100 talent but who became a Day 3 choice due to concerns about technique and his passion for the game.

Plus, the Dillard/Petit-Frere/Radunz trio all struggled at LT, and it would be difficult to imagine Duncan performing much worse. Tennessee would be forced to eat a considerable dead money charge if it were to cut Dillard in the offseason, but the team would also realize a modicum of cap savings. Given the way the 2023 campaign has unfolded, a Dillard release would seem to be a realistic outcome.

Titans To Move Nicholas Petit-Frere To Left Tackle, Demote Andre Dillard

The Titans completed an offensive line revamp this offseason, jettisoning fixtures Taylor Lewan and Ben Jones to create cap space and then letting four-year right guard Nate Davis leave in free agency. Nicholas Petit-Frere‘s gambling suspension meant Tennessee started four new blockers in Week 1.

Although Peter Skoronski represented the biggest offseason investment up front, the Titans gave Andre Dillard a three-year, $29MM deal to replace Lewan. Drafted to take over for Jason Peters in Philadelphia, Dillard was never able to do so and ended up a swing tackle. While Dillard still drew interest at past trade deadlines and created a decent market for himself in free agency, the Titans are preparing to demote him in Week 8.

Tennessee is set to move Petit-Frere from right to left tackle, Mike Vrabel said (via ESPN.com’s Turron Davenport). While Dillard has experience as a right tackle, playing the position at points in Philly, Vrabel confirmed he will slide to a swing role. The Titans signed Chris Hubbard this summer, and despite the former Steelers and Browns starter settling in as a backup during his final years in Cleveland, he has manned the right tackle job throughout the season.

The NFL reinstated Petit-Frere earlier than expected, updating its gambling policy in-season. The Titans did not activate the second-year blocker when first eligible, waiting a week, and still started Hubbard at RT in Week 6. Petit-Frere played 32 snaps off the bench. This will be a big step for Petit-Frere, who finished his Ohio State career as the team’s right tackle starter. He beat out Dillon Radunz for the Titans’ RT gig before the 2022 season and started 16 games at the position for the injury-battered team last season, but with Will Levis (feat. Malik Willis) likely to start Sunday, it will be Petit-Frere guard his blind side.

Dillard’s demotion represents an obvious step back for the former first-round pick. Pro Football Focus ranks Dillard outside the top 60 among tackles and has charged him with a whopping seven sacks allowed through six games. Despite Hubbard’s 2020s inactivity coming into this season, PFF ranks him 24th overall among tackles this season. The Titans guaranteed Dillard $10MM. While this demotion would put the four-year Eagle on the 2024 cut radar, the Titans would eat at least $4MM in dead money next year even in a post-June 1 release scenario.

Another intriguing option for Tennessee would be to relocate Skoronski to left tackle, where he starred at Northwestern. Skoronski did some tackle work during the Titans’ offseason program, but Vrabel squashed the notion he would move off guard. The college tackle whom most scouts projected as an NFL guard has been the Titans’ left guard this season.

Contract Details: Hardman, Foreman, Edmunds, Crowder, Seumalo, Dillard

Here are some details on recent new contracts around the NFL:

  • Andre Dillard, T (Titans): Three years, $29MM. The contract, according to McLane, has a guaranteed amount of $13MM, $10MM of which is guaranteed at signing. The $10MM consists of a $5.99MM signing bonus, Dillard’s first year salary of $1.01MM, and $3MM of his second year base salary (worth a total of $9MM). The remaining $3MM of guaranteed money is also part of Dillard’s 2024 salary and fully guarantees on the fifth league day of the 2024 season. His 2025 base salary is worth a total of $11.5MM. The deal includes a per game active roster bonus of $29,411 for a potential season total of $500,000. Dillard can also receive an additional $2MM in playing time incentives. The Titans built a potential out into the contract that allows the team to cut Dillard after 2024 with $3.59MM in dead cap but $16.79MM in cap savings over the following three years, two of which are void years.
  • Isaac Seumalo, G (Steelers): Three years, $24MM. The deal, according to McLane, has a guaranteed amount of $6.95MM composed of Seumalo’s signing bonus. He’ll receive a base salary of $1.3MM in 2023, $7.88MM in 2024, and $6.88MM in 2025. Seumalo can also receive a 2025 roster bonus of $1MM that guarantees on the third league day of the 2025 season.
  • Mecole Hardman, WR (Jets): One year, $4.5MM. The deal, according to Rich Cimini of ESPN, has a guaranteed amount of $4.08MM, $3MM of which is the signing bonus guaranteed at signing. Hardman’s 2023 cap hit will be $1.88MM due to four void years used to spread out his cap numbers. He’ll have an opportunity to make an additional $2MM from incentives this year.
  • D’Onta Foreman, RB (Bears): One year, $2MM. The contract according to Aaron Wilson of KPRC 2, has a guaranteed amount of $1MM consisting of a $375,000 signing bonus and $625,000 of his base salary (worth a total of $1.53MM). Foreman can earn an additional $1MM from incentives based on rushing yards, touchdowns, and the playoffs to push the maximum value of his contract to $3MM.
  • Terrell Edmunds, S (Eagles): One year, $2MM. The deal, according to Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer, has a guaranteed amount of $600,000 consisting of a $250,000 signing bonus and $350,000 of his 2023 base salary (worth a total of $1.08MM). The contract includes a per game active roster bonus of $39,411 for a potential season total of $670,000. Edmunds can also receive an additional $850,000 in incentives based on team improvements and individual performance.
  • Jamison Crowder, WR (Giants): One year, $1.32MM. The contract, according to Dan Duggan of The Athletic, has a guaranteed amount of $27,500 composed of Crowder’s signing bonus. The deal includes a per game active roster bonus of $5,882 for a potential season total of $100,000.

Titans To Sign T Andre Dillard

Needing nearly an entire new starting offensive line, the Titans are moving on that project. They are signing former Eagles first-round pick Andre Dillard, Ian Rapoport and Mike Garafolo of NFL.com report (on Twitter).

Despite Dillard having not secured a spot in the Eagles’ starting lineup, a market formed for his services. The Titans are giving once-coveted prospect a three-year, $29MM contract, Garafolo tweets.

The Eagles passed on Dillard’s fifth-year option in 2022, having removed him from their plans to be a long-term left tackle option. The Washington State product will land another opportunity in Tennessee, being tabbed to replace Taylor Lewan. Tennessee released Lewan, making the former Pro Bowl left tackle part of a salary purge under new GM Ran Carthon.

Although Orlando Brown Jr. and Donovan Smith are on the market, the Titans look to be prepared to go with a cheaper option at left tackle. Dillard has played both left and right tackle as a pro but has fared better on the blind side. The Titans also have perhaps their lone returning O-lineman, Nicholas Petit-Frere, at right tackle.

Philadelphia traded up for Dillard in the 2019 first round and had hoped he would become Jason Peters‘ heir apparent. Instead, rugby convert-turned-seventh-rounder Jordan Mailata ended up succeeding the Hall of Fame candidate. Mailata received an extension to work on Philly’s blind side long-term, leaving Dillard without a place. The Titans will give him a redemption opportunity.

Dillard, 27, made nine starts with the Eagles — in 2019 and 2021 — and drew trade interest due to his diminished role with the organization. That said, Pro Football Focus viewed Dillard’s five-game starter — particularly his pass-blocking chops — sample fairly well in 2021. It will interesting to see the rest of the puzzle pieces during one of the more notable O-line overhauls in recent NFL history.

Eagles RT Lane Johnson To Delay Adductor Surgery, Will Play In Postseason

DECEMBER 28: Johnson will need surgery to address this injury, but the Pro Bowl right tackle will not undergo an operation that threatens his playoff availability. Following consultations with several doctors, the 10th-year Eagles right tackle will put off surgery on his torn adductor, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Johnson plans to return in time for the Eagles’ first playoff game. The eventual procedure will shut down Johnson for around three months, per Rapoport (on Twitter). Rather than move in that direction now, Johnson will attempt to play through this injury after some rehab time.

DECEMBER 26: The Eagles may have their starting quarterback available to close out the regular season, but the same will likely not be true of one of their key offensive linemen. Right tackle Lane Johnson is dealing with a torn tendon in his abdomen, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter (Twitter link). Surgery may be required at some point, as noted (on Twitter) by Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Schefter adds that Johnson is expected to miss the final two weeks of the regular season. While that will make for a notable absence down the stretch, the team is hopeful at this point that he can recover in time for the playoffs. Philadelphia failed to clinch the No. 1 seed in the NFC over the weekend, but doing so at any point in the remaining stretch of the campaign would guarantee them a bye in the Wild Card round and give Johnson extra time to get healthy.

The 32-year-old was recently named a Pro Bowler for the fourth time in his career, as his standout play has continued in 2022. Johnson has generated a PFF grade of 83.2 this season, the second straight season in which he has eclipsed a rating of 80 or higher and sixth overall. He has graded out as the seventh-best offensive tackle per PFF, underlining his importance to Philadelphia’s offense during what has been a hugely successful season to date.

The Eagles have a league-best record of 13-2, and have seen plenty of production on the ground due in no small part to the strength of their offensive front. Johnson has been instrumental in Philadelphia averaging 154 yards per game on the ground, which ranks fourth in the NFL. A ground-heavy approach could be in order if QB Jalen Hurts is once again forced to sit out due to a shoulder sprain, though a return in time for Week 17 against the Saints could still be on the table.

This injury will mark Johnson’s first missed time since a three-week absence last season, the cause of which he cited as mental health. The impact on the Eagles’ pass protection in particular will likely be substantial, as the former top-five pick has yet to allow a sack since 2020.

Jack Driscoll, drafted in the fourth round that year, is expected to be Johnson’s replacement at right tackle; he has made 14 starts in his career, including one this season. But Nick Sirianni said a potential Jordan Mailata position switch — from left to right tackle — that would allow Andre Dillard to man the blindside post is on the table as well, Zach Berman of The Athletic tweets. Dillard has played both positions but has more experience on the left side. The 2019 first-rounder started five games at left tackle last season. Mailata saw time at right tackle briefly last year as well, with Dillard playing the left side during the time in which Mailata was back and Johnson out.

The Eagles enter the closing stages of the regular season with Super Bowl aspirations, but the injuries to Hurts and now Johnson cast serious doubt on their offensive upside in at least the immediate future. Their respective recoveries will go a long way in determining how deep of a playoff run the team can go in January and February.

NFC East Notes: Commanders, Dillard, Giants

The Commanders are planning to open Chase Young‘s practice window next week, Ron Rivera said Thursday. Designating Young to return off the reserve/PUP list will give the former Defensive Rookie of the Year three weeks to be activated. Young has not played since suffering a right ACL tear, and his reconstructive surgery required a graft from his left patellar tendon. This pushed Young’s timetable to midseason. Washington has used James Smith-Williams (two sacks) alongside Montez Sweat (three) this season. The team has been cautious with Young, who last played on Nov. 14, 2021, doing so despite Rivera not exactly being on a tepid seat.

Here is the latest from the NFC East:

  • Washington has discussed demoted cornerback William Jackson in trades, and teams have also expressed interest in Daron Payne. But the Commanders are still planning to hang onto the fifth-year defensive tackle, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com notes. Washington did not progress far with Payne on extension talks but rebuffed trade inquiries this offseason. Its D-tackle equation has changed since then. Second-round rookie Phidarian Mathis is out for the season. Both Payne and longtime D-tackle mate Jonathan Allen lead the Commanders with 3.5 sacks apiece; Payne also tallied a safety this season. One of the NFC’s seven 3-4 teams, the Commanders do not necessarily have to be sellers. But they are in the conference’s toughest division, making a road to the postseason more difficult.
  • Staying on the trade front, Andre Dillard continues to generate interest. Mentioned in trade rumors before last year’s deadline, the Eagles’ swing tackle might be available this year. The Eagles are believed to be open to moving the former first-rounder, Fowler adds, but they are likely to want at least a third-round pick to move on. Dillard is in a contract year. He would probably be a starter on several teams but operates as a swingman behind Jordan Mailata and Lane Johnson. Dillard’s injury history (23 missed games) also stands to affect his value.
  • The Giants will be without one of their tackles for a while. Evan Neal suffered what is believed to be a grade 2 MCL sprain and is expected to miss at least three games, per Fowler and NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero (Twitter links). Neal stabilized his rookie season a bit after a disastrous night against the Cowboys’ menacing pass rush, but an IR move might be in the cards here. The Giants used Tyre Phillips as Neal’s replacement against the Jaguars. Formerly the Ravens’ starting left guard, Phillips arrived in New York via waiver claim. He rejoined ex-Baltimore teammate Ben Bredeson in New York, but the Giants’ starting left guard is also set to miss time after a Week 7 injury.
  • Daniel Bellinger also left the Giants-Jaguars game due to injury. The team’s starting tight end will soon undergo surgery to repair a fractured eye socket and septum, Paul Schwartz of the New York Post tweets. Brian Daboll said it is too soon to count on Bellinger returning this season, though Schwartz adds this is not believed to be a season-ending malady. Stepping in as a starter despite being a rookie fourth-round pick, Bellinger has 16 receptions (third in an evolving Giants aerial attack) for 152 yards and two touchdowns. The San Diego State alum also has a rushing score this season. Tanner Hudson is the only other Giant tight end with a catch (three) this year.

Eagles Activate T Andre Dillard From IR

OCTOBER 15: After two weeks of practice, Dillard is ready to go. The Eagles activated the former first-round pick from IR. Dillard is expected to serve as Philadelphia’s swing tackle against Dallas. The fourth-year blocker played that role last season. Mailata, who missed Week 5, is expected to return to his left tackle post Sunday.

OCTOBER 5: The Eagles remained unbeaten despite losing their starting left tackle — Jordan Mailata — to a shoulder injury in Week 4. Mailata is not a lock to play Sunday, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com notes (on Twitter), but the team could have its top backup available.

Philadelphia opened the practice window for Andre Dillard on Wednesday. Dillard, who is going into his fourth season with the team, now has 21 days to be activated. Should the Eagles not activate Dillard by that point, he will miss the 2022 season. Teams can activate up to eight players off their respective injured lists this season.

Dillard went down with a broken forearm just before the season; the former first-round pick underwent surgery in early September but has been deemed ready to practice. It will be interesting to see if the Eagles see enough from their one-time blindside heir apparent to activate him ahead of their Week 5 game against the Cardinals.

Philly used 2020 fourth-round pick Jack Driscoll to replace Mailata against Jacksonville, but Dillard has been the team’s top backup tackle for a bit now. The Eagles traded up to draft Dillard in 2019, viewing the Washington State prospect as the successor to Jason Peters. Dillard’s injury trouble led to Mailata commandeering that left tackle gig, and the team passed on Dillard’s fifth-year option in May. But the Eagles have resisted trade overtures toward the young blocker. He could be back on the Eagles’ 53-man roster soon.

The Eagles have Mailata locked up long-term; the rugby convert joins Lane Johnson and Landon Dickerson as O-line starters signed beyond 2022. Dillard, who started nine games at both left and right tackle during the 2019 and ’21 seasons, could move into position as an intriguing free agent next year. For this season, however, the injury-prone tackle represents higher-end insurance for a Super Bowl contender.

Minor NFL Transactions: 10/5/22

Today’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Detroit Lions

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

Philadelphia Eagles

Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee Titans

Washington Commanders

A number of players who were placed on IR after the preseason and prior to the regular season returned to practice today. These players will have a three-week practice window until they have to be activated to the active roster. Otherwise, they’ll be ineligible to return this season.

One of the most surprising returns is Cardinals cornerback Antonio Hamilton. The former undrafted free agent rode a strong preseason to a potential starting gig, but he was sidelined with second-degree burns after spilling hot oil on his legs and feet. Kliff Kingsbury previously said an early-October return may be a “little aggressive” (per ESPN’s Josh Weinfuss on Twitter), but the cornerback ended up working his way back to practice.

Eagles Place T Andre Dillard On IR

Andre Dillard‘s latest injury — a broken forearm — will cost him at least four weeks. The Eagles placed the veteran tackle on IR Tuesday. It might take more than the minimum timetable for the team’s swing tackle to return.

The fourth-year blocker was scheduled to undergo surgery today, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. A four- to six-week recovery period is expected. Dillard lost his left tackle spot to Jordan Mailata long ago, but the former first-round pick still provides depth for the Eagles.

This is familiar territory for Dillard, whom the Eagles traded up for in the 2019 draft. The Washington State product, who was once Jason Peters‘ blindside heir apparent, missed the entire 2020 season due to a biceps tear and suffered a knee sprain during Philadelphia’s 2021 training camp. The Eagles passed on his fifth-year option in May.

When healthy, Dillard has shown enough for the Eagles to keep him around. The team resisted trade overtures ahead of the 2021 deadline, after having seen Dillard hold his own at left tackle during Mailata’s time sidelined with an MCL sprain. Dillard made five starts last season and rated as a midlevel tackle, per Pro Football Focus.

Mailata and Lane Johnson are entrenched as Philly’s tackle starters, but Dillard — once he returns from his latest setback — stands to provide nice insurance. Johnson has missed 17 games over the past three seasons, making said insurance essential for the Eagles. For a stretch without Johnson last season, the Eagles slid Mailata to the right side and kept Dillard at his natural spot. Dillard seeing more time in relief this year could create an interesting free agent market come 2023. Of course, the former No. 22 overall pick will likely have to stay healthy upon returning from the arm injury for such a market to form.