Titans tight end MyCole Pruitt suffered a fractured and dislocated ankle during today’s game against against the Dolphins (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero). Now set for surgery, Pruitt will surely be out for the rest of the season, including the playoffs.
Pruitt, 29, had 14 catches for 145 yards and three touchdowns heading into today’s game. The Titans went on to win 34-3, but they’ve lost an essential run blocker heading into the postseason.
The Titans will still have veteran Geoff Swaim and Anthony Firkser on the roster and they have Austin Forton the practice squad. Tennessee uses multiple tight end sets pretty frequently to leverage their rushing attack and they’ve utilized all three of their tight ends pretty equally with all three getting their fair share of snaps. Through Week 16, Swaim led the group playing 58.6% of the offensive snaps, Pruitt followed with 44.4%, and Firkser was on the field for 33.4%. None are really receiving threats, so the two remaining tight ends will continue to fill their role and Tennessee will hope a player like Fort can step up in heavy packages or when called upon to give his teammates a breather.
As for Pruitt, the hope is that the severity of the injury is low and the recovery from the surgery is quick as he heads into the offseason as a free agent. On a lucky note, Swaim and Firkser are also in contract years, so if the Titans like their trio of tight ends, it may be an easy decision to extend any combination of the three.
Following Mike Vrabel‘s positive coronavirus test Sunday, Ryan Tannehill has since tested positive, per ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter, who adds nine Titans players or coaches have now tested positive (Twitter link). This contingent also includes outside linebacker Harold Landry and a few backups. Vrabel and Tannehill’s absences, however, certainly will affect Tennessee’s practice routines ahead of the season.
Not everyone in this group has tested positive, The Tennesseean’s Ben Arthur tweets, and Vrabel said (via Pro Football Talk’s Charean Williams) the vaccinated players who did test positive did not communicate to him any notable symptoms. But the team does have a bit of an issue on its hands.
Players have quicker avenues back to the field than they did last year. Vaccinated individuals who test positive do not have to isolate for 10 days any longer; they can return to practice after two negative tests 24 hours apart. Vrabel, who has been away from the team since Saturday, is vaccinated but has yet to test negative twice. Only unvaccinated players are eligible to be classified as high-risk close contacts.
The Titans’ October 2020 outbreak, which caused the first of the NFL’s schedule changes last season, certainly dwarfs their present situation. But the team being without its coach for nearly a week and being set to have its quarterback sidelined is notable. Tannehill, who is vaccinated, will be the latest quarterback to miss practices this month due to a COVID-19 situation. He will follow Lamar Jackson, Kirk Cousins and Cam Newton in that regard. The NFLPA has called for a return to daily testing, but as of now, only unvaccinated players are tested daily.
The Titans have agreed to sign quarterback Trevor Siemian, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Meanwhile, the Titans will also welcome tight end Geoff Swaim to the roster, as Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle tweets. To make room for Siemian, the Titans have dropped seventh-round rookie Cole McDonald.
Siemian auditioned for the Titans earlier this week, alongside fellow QB DeShone Kizer, running back D’Onta Foreman, and Swaim. The 28-year-old can provide experience behind starter Ryan Tannehill, where Logan Woodside currently sits as the QB2. Unfortunately, he’s appeared in just one game over the past two years, thanks in part to his brutal ankle injury in 2019. The last time he got an extended look was 2017, when he went 5-5 as a starter for the Broncos.
Swaim played four seasons for the Cowboys before moving on to the Jaguars last year. He played in six games for the Jags before landing on IR. In March, the Jaguars dropped him from the roster. Swaim’s best season came in 2018 when he notched a career-high 26 catches for 242 yards and one touchdown. Now, he’ll push to make the final cut, even though the Titans already have Jonnu Smith, Anthony Firkser, MyCole Pruitt, Parker Hesse, and Tommy Hudson at tight end.
McDonald, a University of Hawaii product, finished third in the nation in passing yards. Hawaii’s aggressive offensive scheme had a lot to do with that, but the Titans also saw some pro potential in the youngster. If he clears waivers, it stands to reason that the Titans will try to stash him on the practice squad.
It’s not too surprising that the Titans are sniffing around for help at quarterback. After all, the team has a pair of unproven options behind RyanTannehill in Logan Woodside and Cole McDonald. Siemian would certainly provide the Titans with the experience they’re presumably seeking, although the 28-year-old has only seen time in one game over the past two years (thanks in part to a season-ending ankle injury during the 2019 campaign). The last time he got an extended look was 2017, when he went 5-5 as a starter for the Broncos.
Following an ugly 2017 campaign that saw him go winless in 15 starts for the Browns, Kizer has spent time with the Packers and Raiders. Still only 24 years old, the former Notre Dame standout has 11 career touchdowns vs. 24 career interceptions.
Following an award-winning career at Texas, Foreman was drafted in the third round of the 2017 draft by the Texans. He saw time in 10 games as a rookie, compiling 327 rushing yards and two scores on 78 carries. A torn Achilles suffered towards the end of that 2017 campaign limited him to only a single appearance in 2018, and he was cut the following preseason. He briefly caught on with the Colts, but he sat as a free agent for all of the 2019 season.
Swaim, a former seventh-round pick, spent four seasons with the Cowboys, including a 2018 season where he hauled in a career-high 26 receptions for 242 yards and one touchdown. He signed with the Jaguars last season, but he was limited to only 13 receptions in six games.
While the 49ers opted to sign Dion Jordan, the other top-five 2013 draft pick they hosted on a recent visit received good news. Ziggy Ansah passed his 49ers physical, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. The former Lions and Seahawks defensive end has battled injuries in recent years, including a shoulder malady during his 2019 season in Seattle. However, Ansah is currently at 280 pounds and healthy. Although the former Pro Bowler is entering his age-31 season and has not contributed much statistically since his 12-sack 2017, his improved health should generate interest from other teams in the near future.
Here is the latest from the free agent market:
Former Cardinals first-round pick Robert Nkemdiche is aiming to return to the league. He has spoken with multiple teams, NFL.com’s Mike Garafolo tweets. The one-time No. 1 recruit in the country did not pan out in Arizona or Miami, ballooning to 345 pounds during a thus-far unproductive career. But Garafolo adds Nkemdiche is back down to 315 and has told teams he is healthy. The Dolphins waived Nkemdiche in November.
Prior to the Falcons‘ agreement with ex-Bengals cornerback Darqueze Dennard, they were interested in one of his former Cincinnati teammates. Atlanta was monitoring B.W. Webb, per ESPN.com’s Vaughn McClure (on Twitter). Webb started 12 Bengals games last season and was productive as a Giants slot cornerback in 2018. Now 30, Webb has the historically unusual distinction of playing for a different team in each of his six NFL seasons. The former Cowboys fourth-round pick has played with Dallas, Pittsburgh, Tennessee, New Orleans, the Giants and Cincinnati.
Free agent tight end Geoff Swaim took a physical for the Texans recently, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com notes (on Twitter). Teams are permitted to give physicals to free agents if they are serious about signing them. Swaim, however, remains unsigned days after this physical occurred. Swaim spent the first five seasons of his career with the Cowboys and Jaguars. He ended the past two seasons on IR.
Defensive tackle Darius Kilgo has been fully cleared from the quadriceps injury he suffered last season, Rapoport tweets. A 2015 Broncos draft choice, Kilgo suffered the injury while with the Lions last year. He has not played in a regular-season game since suiting up for the 2018 Titans.
Ronald Darby, CB (Eagles): One year, $6.5MM. $4.5MM guaranteed. $3.5MM signing bonus. $2MM available via playtime, playoff, and Pro Bowl incentive. Contract contains four void years from 2020-2023 (link).