It sounds like AdamPeters will be staying in San Francisco. The 49ers assistant general manager has declined GM interviews with the Titans and Cardinals, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport (via Twitter). While Peters “has great respect for those organizations, his focus is on supporting the 49ers during their playoff run,” per Rapoport.
Peters spent eight years in Denver before joining San Francisco in 2017. After starting as vice president of player personnel, the Bay Area native was promoted to assistant GM in 2021, with the 49ers collecting 23 regular season wins during his two years in the role. According to Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle (on Twitter), Peters has widely been viewed as the successor to general manager John Lynch.
Still, that sentiment hasn’t stopped teams from pursuing Peters. After being loosely connected to GM vacancies for a few years, the executive made it to the second round of interviews with the Panthers in 2021 (prompting his promotion to 49ers assistant GM) and the Giants in 2022. Peters has clearly been turning into a hot name on the GM circuit, and with two requests this offseason, it was only a matter of time until he got the gig. However, he appears to be more content to stay in San Francisco, where he could eventually become GM.
Steve Keim permanently stepped away from the Cardinals due to health-related reasons, leading to a vacancy in Arizona’s front office. Meanwhile, the Titans made the surprising move to fire GM Jon Robinson in early December.
Mike Vrabel stands to inherit more decision-making power with the Titans going forward, with seven-year GM Jon Robinsonnow out of the picture. Vrabel and VP of player personnel Ryan Cowden are running the show presently.
But the fifth-year coach insists he was not part of the process that led to Robinson’s surprising ouster. “I was informed of the decision. This wasn’t a decision that included me,” Vrabel said (via NBC Sports’ Peter King). Vrabel and Robinson signed extensions in February. Robinson’s runs through the 2027 draft; it is a good bet Vrabel’s aligns with that since-discarded contract.
Amy Adams Strunk decided to make the change after studying Robinson’s moves, and the owner curiously cited the Titans’ run of player unavailability — leading to inflated IR contingents over the past two years — as part of the reason Robinson is out. While the Tennessee owner said she had made her decision prior to A.J. Brown‘s two-touchdown performance against his former team, Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports notes the Titans’ loss to the Eagles did play a role in the dismissal.
Tennessee’s losses to Cincinnati and Philadelphia were part of the reason Adams Strunk cut bait so soon after authorizing the extension, Jones adds, noting this firing is not believed to have come about because of a power struggle between Robinson and Vrabel. Adams Strunk said she wanted the Titans to be regarded as one of the NFL’s elite teams. Despite an injury-affected 2021 Titans edition earning the AFC’s No. 1 seed, she cut the cord and will look for a new decision-maker to pair with Vrabel.
Robinson hired Vrabel in 2018, and the two have never had a losing season together. The Titans are coming off three consecutive playoff berths. Though, their Week 14 loss to the Jaguars does open the door to a once-seemingly insurmountable AFC South lead slipping away. The Titans (7-6) still have a two-game division lead.
Vrabel will be included in the Titans’ GM search, however, and Jones adds it is clear he will be more involved in personnel decisions henceforth. It will be interesting to see if Vrabel will also have final say over the Titans’ 53-man roster in 2023. The reigning NFL Coach of the Year has gained considerable respect around the league during his Nashville stay, but Robinson’s firing shocked executives around the league.
Firing a GM without a losing season on his resume during a season does represent an interesting look for the Titans, especially so soon after greenlighting an extension. The Titans’ GM search will obviously generate extensive attention once it begins in earnest.
While A.J. Brown‘s performance in his first game against the Titans did not represent a good look for his first NFL franchise, Amy Adams Strunk said the game did not factor into her decision to fire GM Jon Robinson.
The Titans owner indicated her decision to can the seventh-year GM was already made, despite having signed Robinson to an extension in February. Rumored to be displeased with the state of her team’s roster, Adams Strunk preferred to let Robinson go early rather than going through a lengthy delay.
“… Once I made the decision, I was like, ’I can’t sit on it. I’ve got to go ahead and do it to be fair to Jon.′ I don’t know how many weeks we have left in the season. There could be a lot more hopefully in our season, and it just didn’t seem like the right thing to do to drag this along.”
Adams Strunk confirmed she was in the loop on the negotiations that led up to the draft-night Brown trade, Walker adds, but after studying Robinson’s body of work — from drafts to free agency to season performances — she opted to cut bait. This comes after Robinson, teaming with HCs Mike Mularkey and Mike Vrabel, did not have a losing season while running the team. The Titans went 3-13 the season before Robinson’s hire.
The timing here is obviously interesting, with Robinson’s recent extension running through the 2027 draft. Ownership’s decision here has dismayed many around the league, The Athletic’s Jeff Howe notes (subscription required), adding that Robinson should not have trouble landing another high-profile position soon.
“I told the fans from the very beginning that I want to win it all, and I want to be one of those elite teams that people are always scared of, and it’s my responsibility,” Strunk said. “And eventually it’s up to me to make those kind of decisions that get us there.”
Tennessee has advanced to three straight playoff brackets, earning the AFC’s No. 1 seed — for the first time since 2008 — last season. The Titans flamed out immediately after their bye, losing to the Bengals despite sacking Joe Burrow nine times. The 2019 team did upset the Patriots and Ravens en route to the AFC championship game, however. This year’s squad has lost two straight, but with the rest of the AFC South either rebuilding or underwhelming, the Titans (7-5) remain on track to make another postseason berth.
Robinson, who fired Mularkey after back-to-back winning seasons, made a number of solid draft choices to help put the team in position to contend after Ryan Tannehill‘s 2019 arrival via trade (for fourth- and seventh-round picks). The team has never extended one of Robinson’s first-round picks, however, and the 2020 Isaiah Wilson whiff represented one of this era’s worst draft choices. The Titans have also seen a number of players go on IR over the past two seasons; their 16 players on IR leads the NFL this year. Adams Strunk mentioned the number of players the injuries have forced the Titans to use, per Walker, who notes the team has used 76 players this season. Tennessee set an NFL record by using 91 last year.
Adams Strunk did not mention offensive coordinator Todd Downing‘s DUI arrest or the NFL investigation that emerged in the aftermath as a reason for the firing. That brought another major headline for the team due to the timing between the Titans’ plane landing from Wisconsin and Downing’s arrest. Downing remains in place as OC, though Vrabel said that could change depending on the investigation.
This surprising decision also did not come about because of a Vrabel ultimatum, Adams Strunk added. Vrabel and VP of player personnel Ryan Cowden will coordinate personnel moves for the rest of this season. Adams Strunk did not rule out the Titans waiting until after the Super Bowl to make the right hire, if necessary, and Walker adds Vrabel will be involved in the process.
Following the Titans’ decision to send A.J. Brown to the Eagles, they dealt with a quick revenge game. The recently extended wide receiver made a rather notable impact in Week 13’s Tennessee-Philadelphia matchup — an Eagles rout. Although other factors undoubtedly contributed to Jon Robinson‘s ouster, the GM’s decision to unload Brown certainly played a role.
Titans ownership extended Robinson and Mike Vrabel in January, but a recent report indicated owner Amy Adams Strunk had become displeased with the state of the team’s roster. Brown’s absence is the most significant difference between last season’s Titans roster and this one, and the narrow gap between the fourth-year wideout’s 119-yard, two-touchdown day and Robinson’s firing is difficult to overlook.
The Titans were the first team to act on a contract impasse with a fourth-year wideout this offseason, bowing out of negotiations early by sending Brown to the Eagles — for first- and third-round picks — and drafting Treylon Burks. Tennessee’s front office viewed Brown’s health as a potential long-term issue, according to SI.com’s Albert Breer, who notes Robinson and personnel staffers had concerns about the talented receiver’s early-career knee trouble.
Knee trouble did plague Brown, 25, at points during his Tennessee tenure. He underwent surgery on both knees during the 2021 offseason. That followed a season in which Brown missed games and extensive practice time due to a knee contusion. Knee trouble also recurred during the 2021 preseason, but it was a chest injury led Brown to a three-game IR stay last year.
Vrabel’s draft-room reaction became one of the more memorable visuals from this year’s draft weekend, and the Titans have been unable to replace the production the Ole Miss alum provided during his rookie-contract years. Brown (950 receiving yards) is averaging a career-high 79.2 per game with Philly, and his nine touchdown receptions are two shy of a career-best mark (set in 2020). The Titans have featured one of the league’s worst passing attacks, with no player above 375 receiving yards yet. Burks (team-leading 359 yards in just eight games) has shown promise, but various issues have forced him to miss offseason time and game action this year. Coming off ACL surgery, Robert Woods (357 yards in 12 games) has not recaptured the form he showed with the Rams.
The Eagles are paying up for Brown, having authorized a four-year, $100MM extension that included a receiver-record $56MM fully guaranteed. The Titans’ reboot at receiver did not precede other teams operating similarly, and Philly’s $25MM-per-year Brown accord gave the Commanders, Seahawks and 49ers a road map. Terry McLaurin, D.K. Metcalf and Deebo Samuel all missed offseason time because of contract issues, but they ended up each signing three-year deals worth between $23.2MM and $24MM. Burks can be kept on a rookie deal through 2026, via the fifth-year option, but plenty will be on the former Arkansas standout’s shoulders going forward.
Going through with one of the most surprising in-season transactions in recent years, the Titans fired Jon Robinson just less than 10 months after announcing he and Mike Vrabelhad signed extensions. Robinson’s contract runs through the 2027 draft, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com notes (on Twitter).
While it is fair to wonder if this about-face stemmed from a sudden development, ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter noted during an NFL Live appearance that is not believed to be the case. Owner Amy Adams Strunk has become unhappy about the state of Tennessee’s roster, Pelissero adds, with Schefter adding she was not pleased in being left out of the loop on certain matters.
Brown shredded his former team in an eight-reception, 119-yard, two-touchdown performance Sunday, and the Titans have not been able to replicate what the former second-round pick had offered them. Robert Woods has produced close to his Rams-era numbers since being acquired for a sixth-round pick, and while Treylon Burks has shown flashes, the first-rounder has missed extensive time. The Commanders, Seahawks and 49ers did not follow the Titans’ lead; each team extended their respective No. 1 receivers (Terry McLaurin, D.K. Metcalf, Deebo Samuel) rather than punt on their contract years. Brown’s Eagles contract ended up being the template each of those NFC squads used to wrap up their respective receiver extensions.
Robinson also drafted the likes of Derrick Henry, Kevin Byard, Harold Landry and Jeffery Simmons, and he landed Ryan Tannehill for fourth- and seventh-round picks. That trade gave the Titans an out on Marcus Mariota, and Tannehill’s return to health led to the Titans advancing to the AFC championship game for the first time since 2002. Robinson had never completed a losing season as Titans GM, despite the team going 3-13 the year before he arrived, and Tennessee is on track to secure a fourth straight playoff berth.
Then again, the Titans swung and missed on some first-round picks. Corey Davis did not become a No. 1-caliber wideout, despite being chosen fifth overall, and cornerback Caleb Farley has not earned a starting role upon returning from his rookie-year ACL tear. Robinson let both Davis and 2016 first-rounder Jack Conklin walk in free agency. The Conklin decision led to a revolving door at right tackle and preceded the team’s most infamous draft miss. The Titans’ 2020 first-round choice — tackle Isaiah Wilson — saw action on four plays as a rookie and never played again.
Still, this firing took many around the league by surprise, according to the Washington Post’s Jason La Canfora and The Athletic’s Mike Jones (Twitterlinks). Robinson hire Vrabel is set to see his role expand, confirming Wednesday he and interim GM Ryan Cowden will collaborate on the team’s decision-making for the rest of the season.
In an unexpected move, the Titans are moving on from one of their top executives. The team is firing general manager Jon Robinson, as reported (on Twitter) by Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero of NFL Network. Tennessee has confirmed the decision.
This comes across as a surprise given the success the the team has enjoyed under Robinson’s tenure, which began in 2016. The Titans have had a winning record during each of those campaigns, including four consecutive 9-7 records between 2016-19. Consecutive double-digit win seasons followed, and the team earned the No. 1 seed in the conference last year.
At 7-5 in 2022, Tennessee appears poised to win another AFC South title, something which would guarantee a fifth playoff appearance since Robinson took over as GM and fourth in as many years. That span includes a trip to the AFC title game in 2019, and has made Tennessee one of the most consistent organizations in the league in terms of sustained success in recent years. For that reason, it came as little surprise when Robinson and head coach Mike Vrabelsigned extensions this winter.
“I believe we have made significant progress both on and off the field through investments in leadership, personnel and new ideas,” owner Amy Adams Strunk said in a statement. “This progress includes the core of our business, the football team itself, which is regularly evaluated both by results (wins and losses) and team construction/roster building. I am proud of what we have accomplished in my eight seasons of ownership, but I believe there is more to be done and higher aspirations to be met.
“I want to thank Jon for his dedicated work to set this organization on an upward trajectory and I wish him and his family the best.”
The team announced that VP of player personnel Ryan Cowden will assume Robinson’s duties on an interim basis. A search for a long-term successor will take place after the season is over. Cowden has drawn interest from other NFL teams in their respective GM searches, and interviewed twice with the Steelers this year for their vacancy. Meanwhile, Vrabel is expected to gain “significant power” within the organization as a result of this move (Twitter link via Aaron Wilson of KPRC2).
Robinson and the front office made a number of sizeable moves this offseason, including the trade which sent wideout A.J. Brownto the Eagles after the sides were unable to agree on a long-term extension. A source of questions during the season has been the quarterback position; Ryan Tannehillremains the team’s starter for now, but he has one year remaining on his current contract. That will invite speculation that rookie Malik Williscould start on a permanent basis if Tannehill were to struggle down the stretch, or if the team were to move on from him in the offseason.
That question, amongst others, will need to be answered in the coming months, but Robinson will no longer have a part to play in them. His track record will likely earn him plenty of interest for future front office positions, barring an unforeseen matter having contributed to his sudden dismissal.
Wednesday, we took a look at how the 2022 offseason changed the HC landscape. While 10 new sideline leaders are in place for 2022, not quite as much turnover transpired on the general manager front. Five new decision-makers, however, have moved to the top of teams’ front office hierarchies over the past six months.
The Bears, Giants, Raiders and Vikings rebooted their entire operations, hiring new HC-GM combos. The Minnesota move bumped out one of the previous top-10 longest-tenured GMs, with 16-year Vikings exec Rick Spielman no longer in power in the Twin Cities. The Steelers’ shakeup took the NFL’s longest-tenured pure GM out of the mix. Kevin Colbert was with the Steelers since 2000, and although he is still expected to remain with the team in a reduced capacity, the 22-year decision-maker stepped down shortly after Ben Roethlisberger wrapped his career.
Twelve teams have now hired a new GM in the past two offseasons, though a bit more staying power exists here compared to the HC ranks. Two GMs (the Cardinals’ Steve Keim and Chargers’ Tom Telesco) have begun their 10th years at the helms of their respective front offices. They have hired three HCs apiece. The Buccaneers’ Jason Licht is closing in on a decade in power in Tampa Bay; Licht will now work with his fourth HC in Todd Bowles. Beyond that, a bit of a gap exists. But a handful of other executives have been in power for at least five seasons.
Here is how long every GM or de facto GM has been in place with his respective franchise:
Jerry Jones (Dallas Cowboys): April 18, 1989
Mike Brown (Cincinnati Bengals): August 5, 1991
Bill Belichick (New England Patriots): January 27, 2000
Amidst a slew of deals on Day 1 of the 2022 draft, A.J. Brownwas traded from the Titans to the Eagles, making him the latest in a long line of wideouts on the move to new teams this offseason. When speaking to the media in the aftermath of the deal, Brown offered more details on his contract negotiations with Tennessee.
“This wasn’t my fault” the 24-year-old said, via ESPN’s Turron Davenport. “I wanted to stay, but the deal they offered was a low offer. The deal they offered wasn’t even $20 million a year.”
More specifically, Brown said that Tennessee was willing to give him a contract valued at $16MM per season, with the potential to reach the $20MM mark through incentives. A source tells Dianna Russini of ESPN.com that the Titans’ offer was better than what Brown indicated, but that source did not divulge any additional details. Brown’s deal with the Eagles averages $25MM per annum, and during his own media availability, Titans general manager Jon Robinson said the gap between the two parties on contract terms led to the trade.
“We really started working on [the trade] over the last 18, 20 hours” Robinson said last night. “We had discussions back and forth and we realized we got to the point where it was going to be hard to get a deal done.” As a result, the Titans reversed course from their public stance in favor of re-signing him, and Brown has become another beneficiary of the exploding WR market.
The Pro Bowler made it clear that the Titans wouldn’t have needed to match the Eagles’ contract offer for him to remain in Nashville. “I would have stayed if they offered me $22 million,” he said. But regardless of the AAV, Russini reports that Brown was seeking close to $80MM in guaranteed money, though he “only” landed $57MM in guarantees from Philadelphia. Russini adds, even before that $80MM figure was floated, Brown had requested a trade (it was previously reported that the 49ers’ Deebo Samuel was the only member of the loaded 2019 wide receiver draft class that had asked to be dealt).
Even if they could have hammered out an extension worth $22MM per year with $57MM or so in guarantees, the Titans’ preference, clearly, was to re-stock the position with the much cheaper Treylon Burks, whom they selected with the 18th overall pick. He, alongside trade acquisition Robert Woods, will now head the team’s depth chart.
Trying to close the book on a controversial transaction, Robinson expressed gratitude for Brown during his three seasons with the team. “We really appreciate what A.J. has done here for our football team, on the field and in the community” he said.
“We wish A.J. nothing but the best moving forward”.
The Titans have done everything this offseason to convince wide receiver A.J. Brown that they want him on their football team, short of offering him the contract he apparently desires.
We’ve seen reports from general manager Jon Robinson that Tennessee has no plans to trade their star wide receiver, according to Aaron Wilson of Pro Football Network, and, rightly, they shouldn’t want to. Despite a small history of injuries in his three-year career, Brown is one of the Titans’ most explosive and consistent playmakers, even in an offense last year that was missing former-Titan Corey Davis and running back Derrick Henry and had Julio Jones looking like a shell of his former self.
Head coach Mike Vrabel expressed his love for Brown on the “Rich Eisen Show,” and made it clear that Brown won’t be traded “as long as (he’s) the head coach,” according to Dianna Russini of ESPN. Russini went on to report that Brown has no interest in participating in any team events without a new deal.
The sides are working towards an extension, but, so far, haven’t found room to meet in the middle. Former-Colts punter Pat McAfee spoke with NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport concerning an alleged phone call between disgruntled 49ers wide receiverDeebo Samuel and Brown, who share an agent. In the call, the person assumed to be Brown claims an offer from his team of $20MM per year, with no clarification on the deal’s length. Rapoport, who admittedly did not corroborate that the video of the phone call was real, said that $20MM would be a good starting point for negotiations, as teams don’t tend to put their best offers out their to start.
Before this offseason, it would make sense for Brown to be getting a deal around $20MM per year. The numbers that he’s put up in his career are similar to other receivers who make that much, such as Mike Williams, Chris Godwin, and Amari Cooper, and, with Brown being a bit younger than those three, he might command a bit more money with the expectation that he’ll be around longer in his prime. The deal that most likely changed Brown’s expectations, was the contract the Jaguars gave to Christian Kirk. If Kirk can command $18MM per year having never recorded a 1,000-yard receiving season in his four-year career, surely Brown should command far more after doing so in both of his first two years in the league.
In his worst statistical year last season, where Brown played in the least amount of games of his career and was the only player defenses needed to focus on, Brown still produced, catching 63 balls for 869 yards and 5 touchdowns in 13 games. It was the first time he failed to amass 1,000 receiving yards and 9 total touchdowns in a season.
Seeing how important Brown is to the Titans’ offense, combined with the expected holdout Brown has threatened, Robinson and Vrabel will likely be feeling the pressure to concede sooner rather than later. Salaries are constantly rising to new heights in the NFL, and, if Tennessee loves their star receiver as much as they say they do, why not make an example by giving him a contract that shows it?
Although the Titans could not turn their No. 1 seed into a postseason win, they are rewarding the top power brokers responsible for the team earning that first-round bye.
Mike Vrabel and GM Jon Robinson signed extensions with the team Tuesday. Vrabel is entering his fifth year as Titans head coach, while Robinson is going into his seventh as GM.
The Robinson-Vrabel partnership has changed the course of the Titans, who have made the playoffs in three straight seasons. This past 12-5 result gave Tennessee its first No. 1 seed since 2008, and the season could well lead to Vrabel earning Coach of the Year acclaim at this week’s NFL Honors banquet.
Vrabel has yet to have a losing season as Titans HC, and he broke the team’s four-year run of 9-7 seasons by winning the AFC South with an 11-5 record in 2020. He also oversaw upsets of the Patriots and Ravens in the 2019 playoffs, leading the Titans to their first AFC championship game since 2002.
The Titans gave Vrabel a five-year deal when he took the job in 2018, which would have made 2022 a walk year for the former Super Bowl-winning linebacker and Texans defensive coordinator. Vrabel, 46, has solidified himself in this role and is the longest-serving Titans HC since Jeff Fisher. The Titans battled through numerous injuries this season, deploying a historically high number of players due to the various maladies. Vrabel’s team defeated three of the four conference finalists this season — the Chiefs, Rams and 49ers — but its upset loss to the Bengals ended the run early.
Robinson, 46, has been with the Titans since coming over from the Buccaneers in 2016. Robinson’s teams have made the playoffs in four of the six seasons under his watch. Under Robinson, the Titans managed to land a starting quarterback in a trade package headlined by a fourth-round pick. While Ryan Tannehill has not been a top-tier QB, the former injury-prone Dolphins starter has stabilized his career in Tennessee. The Titans also landed Derrick Henry, Harold Landry and A.J. Brown in the second round under Robinson, who has built the most consistently good Titans teams since Fisher’s run in the late 1990s and early 2000s.