Ryan Tannehill

Latest On Titans QB Ryan Tannehill

The Titans made things interesting in their quarterbacks room yesterday when they traded up to select Liberty quarterback Malik Willis with the No. 86 pick. Speaking with reporters, Titans GM Jon Robinson said the front office didn’t consult with veteran QB Ryan Tannehill before making the selection (via Terry McCormick of TitanInsider.com on Twitter). Further, the executive seemed to indicate that Willis’ playing time will be dependent on the rookie’s development (vs. Tannehill’s production).

[RELATED: Titans Trade Up To Select Malik Willis At No. 86]

“His role will be determined by how quickly he comes in here and learns the offense and improves and gains the respect of his teammates,” Robinson said (via ESPN’s Turron Davenport).

“[Willis] was the best player on the board, and we’re excited to have him on the team. Good arm, athletic, moves around well and has a really good skillset. He throws a good ball and is tough to tackle. He’s got a lot of work to do like all these rookies do.”

Tannehill has seen plenty of team success during his three years with the Titans, guiding the squad to a 30-13 regular season. However, you can’t blame the Titans for seeking a QB with a higher upside; Tannehill finished last season with only 21 touchdowns vs. 14 interceptions, and the Titans have had two-straight one-and-done appearances in the postseason.

Of course, yesterday’s move doesn’t necessarily indicate that Tannehill is slowly being pushed out of Tennessee. While some pundits believe Willis has first-round talent, he was still selected in the third round, a pick that’s easy to write off. Perhaps the Willis selection will even light a fire under Tannehill and solidify the 33-year-old as the team’s sure-fire starter going forward.

QB Rumors: Trubisky, Winston, Taylor, Lock

The Giants’ new head coach, Brian Daboll, worked with free agent quarterback Mitchell Trubisky when they were both with the Bills last year (Daboll as offensive coordinator). Well, according to Dan Graziano of ESPN, Daboll has interest in luring Trubisky to join him in New York.

There’s been some interest in bringing Trubisky to Pittsburgh, as well, where a path to starting is much more clear. If Daboll’s familiarity with the sixth-year quarterback is able to attract him to the Giants, though, the head coach sees the potential for him to mirror the results of Ryan Tannehill in Tennessee. A quick refresher: Tannehill arrived in Nashville in 2019 in a trade with the Dolphins. Tannehill started the season in the role of back up quarterback to the incumbent starter Marcus Mariota. After a 2-4 start to the season, Mariota was benched in favor of Tannehill, who went 7-3 for the rest of the year and led the Titans to the AFC Championship Game.

Daboll holds hope that, while Daniel Jones may retain the starting job in New York, if the need presents itself, Trubisky could provide the same effect as Tannehill.

Some other notes concerning quarterbacks around the league:

  • Another option the Steelers could be looking into, Jameis Winston is looking like the most likely starting quarterback for the Saints in 2022, according to Graziano. With Teddy Bridgewater headed to free agency, a return to New Orleans could be possible, and Winston may see some opportunities in testing the free agent market, himself. But Winston is a locker room favorite that saw success on the Saints before tearing his ACL midseason last year.
  • Tyrod Taylor lost the starting job in Houston last year to rookie quarterback Davis Mills. With Mills expected to return to the starting position next year, the Texans do have interest in bringing Taylor back in the role of back up quarterback, according to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler. Taylor has chased starting jobs throughout his career and has seen some success at times. He may search for a new opportunity to start, but, if not, Taylor has shown professionalism several times in back up roles mentoring young quarterbacks.
  • After receiving Drew Lock in the Russell Wilson-trade with the Broncos, Seattle is considering the elements to Lock’s lack of success in Denver, according to Fowler. Some believe that the revolving door of offensive coordinators contributed to his struggles. Seattle is analyzing whether they believe in Pete Carroll‘s ability to develop Lock, who showed glimpses of promise in his early appearances as a Bronco, or whether they need to make moves for Deshaun Watson to win now.

Titans Endorse Ryan Tannehill As Starting QB

Before the Titans’ playoff exit in the Divisional Round, there was a great deal of speculation surrounding quarterback Ryan Tannehill and his future with the team. After the loss – and in particular, Tannehill’s performance in the game – sentiment that Tennessee could need an upgrade only increased. 

However, the franchise is publicly backing Tannehill, as ESPN’s Turron Davenport writes. Both general manager Jon Robinson and head coach Mike Vrabel made it clear they have faith in the 33-year-old, despite his struggles in 2021. Tannehill threw for 220 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions in the team’s playoff loss to the Bengals. It marked a disappointing end to the season, given that Tennessee had earned the No. 1 seed in the AFC despite missing Derrick Henry for much of the campaign.

Another reason for fodder that the Titans could be getting a new signal-caller is the fact that Aaron Rodgers, who is “reportedly open to playing for the Titans”, recently purchased property near Nashville. However, the Packers’ QB – who has one year remaining on his current contract – is thought to be on better terms now with the team than he was one year ago. Furthermore, as Davenport notes, “the Titans don’t consider Rodgers to be an option for them” and they have “full intentions of moving forward with Tannehill”.

Specifically, Robinson said, “Ryan’s our quarterback. He’s made a lot of plays for us. He’s a great leader. He’s extremely tough. [We] love what Ryan brings to our football team, love what he stands for. We’re looking forward to him getting back in there, and getting back on track”. Vrabel also added: “He has elite toughness… He has shown signs of accuracy, of decision-making, the ability to extend plays and to scramble and leadership. Those are all things that you look for in a quarterback, and Ryan has shown us that”. 

Robinson and Vrabel each signed extensions recently, so they could look to keep Tannehill as a way of maintaining continuity within the franchise. If he does stay in Tennessee, though, his cap hit will jump to $38.6MM as a result of the restructure he agreed to which accommodated the Julio Jones acquisition. If Tannehill is able to return to the level of play he showed in 2019 and 2020 – where he totalled 55 touchdown passed and only 13 interceptions – the team will likely have made the right choice. If 2021 (21 TDs, 14 INTs) is a better indicator of his future, though, sticking with him instead of looking elsewhere could prove costly.

Latest On Titans’ COVID-19 Situation

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.

The Titans have placed Tannehill, Landry, tight end Geoff Swaim, linebacker Justin March-Lillard, running back Jeremy McNichols, linebacker Nick Dzubnar and defensive tackle Anthony Rush on their reserve/COVID list this week. Special teams coordinator Craig Aukerman is also away from the team due to COVID.

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.

Contract Details: Tannehill, Saints, Ravens

Here are the details from the latest contracts agreed to around the NFL:

  • Ryan Tannehill, QB (Titans): Tannehill’s restructured deal will pay out a $1.5MM base salary in 2021 and count $11.1MM against the cap, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. Those numbers jump back up beginning in 2022, with Tannehill set to earn a $29MM base salary and count $38.6MM against Tennessee’s cap. In 2023, Tannehill is due a $27MM base and will be a $36.6MM cap hit. The Titans used two void years (2024 and ’25) to help create more than $15MM in cap space.
  • Marshon Lattimore, CB (Saints): Four years, $120MM, according to Yates (on Twitter). Like New Orleans’ Taysom Hill deal, this contract is flush with void years and does not reflect true value. Lattimore’s fifth-year option ($10.2MM) will be spread onto the Saints’ 2021 and ’22 salary caps, with $2.841MM on this year’s cap and $7.403MM next year, according to OverTheCap. Lattimore remains under contract through 2021.
  • Gus Edwards, RB (Ravens): Two years, $10MM. Edwards will collect a $3.75MM signing bonus and earn base salaries of $1MM (2021), $3.25MM (’22) and $4.38MM (’23) on this extension, Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic notes (subscription required).
  • Ja’Wuan James, OT (Ravens): One year, up to $9MM. James will receive a $500K signing bonus but count just $250K toward Baltimore’s cap this year, Zrebiec adds. If James is on the Ravens’ roster on the fifth day of the 2022 league year, he will collect a $500K roster bonus. In that scenario, James’ 2022 base salary will be $2.5MM. He would then count $3.25MM against the Ravens’ 2022 cap. $5MM in incentives round out the deal.
  • De’Vondre Campbell, LB (Packers): One year, $2MM, per the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Tom Silverstein (on Twitter). Campbell will receive a $1.1MM signing bonus and count $1.19MM against Green Bay’s 2021 cap. The Packers tacked on four void years, creating an $808K cap hit in 2022. The deal also contains $500K in playing-time incentives.

Titans Restructure Ryan Tannehill’s Deal

Ryan Tannehill has restructured his deal in order to welcome Julio Jones to Nashville (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport). The simple revision will provide the Titans with upwards of $15MM in cap space, allowing them to fit Jones’ $15.3M salary for 2021.

[RELATED: Titans GM Jon Robinson On Julio Jones Trade]

This was the expected move after Sunday’s trade hit the wire. In effect, everything will basically remain the same on Tannehill’s end. The quarterback is still signed through 2023, thanks to the four-year, $118MM extension he signed in 2020. The only real difference is that his $29.5MM cap hit will be reduced for 2021, with the balance being pushed into 2022. Next year’s cap increase should allow the Titans to take that in stride, though they can kick the can down the road again in ’22 by converting a chunk of those dollars into a signing bonus.

Ultimately, it was an easy call for Tannehill. Now, he’ll have a dynamic 1-2 punch at wide receiver with Jones lining up opposite of A.J. Brown. Meanwhile, the Titans still have ammo to build for the future — instead of a first-round pick, the Titans coughed up little more than a 2022 second-round choice.

Ryan Tannehill, Titans Haven’t Discussed Restructure

Depending on who you ask, the Titans could be the frontrunner in the Julio Jones sweepstakes. But, if they want to trade for the Falcons superstar, they’ll have to free up some dollars first. A restructuring of Ryan Tannehill‘s deal would be a major help, but the quarterback says the two sides have yet to broach that topic. 

[RELATED: Latest On Titans, Julio Jones]

That’s up to [Titans GM Jon Robinson],” Tannehill said (via Ben Arthur of The Tennessean). “He’s going to have to figure that out if that’s something we want to do as an organization. I don’t know. It’s above my pay grade. If he comes to me, then we’ll have that conversation then.”

The Titans have Tannehill signed through 2023, thanks to the four-year, $118MM extension he signed in 2020. As a result, he’ll make $24.5MM in base salary this year with a $29.5MM cap hit. The Titans could kick the can down the road by converting a chunk of those dollars into a signing bonus. Then, they’d have extra room to add veterans this summer (i.e. Jones).

Jones’ contract runs for another three years, including $15.3MM for the coming year. He may also want more in the way of guarantees for 2022 and beyond. But, if the Titans want to make it happen, Tannehill would surely accommodate them with a restructure. From there, it’s just a matter of negotiating with the Falcons. New GM Terry Fontenot wants a first-round pick, but some believe he’d settle for a second rounder.

South Notes: Texans, Titans, Bucs, Terrell

Bill O’Brien‘s final weeks with the Texans were trying, with the team going 0-4 and the former head coach-GM’s near-universally panned DeAndre Hopkins trade benefitting the Cardinals early. But the since-fired HC also was involved in some internal turmoil, with Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reporting O’Brien engaged in heated disputes with J.J. Watt and first-year defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver at a recent practice (Twitter link). O’Brien also verbally sparred with other staffers in his final weeks, per Wilson. That can be expected given the Texans’ start, but the Watt argument may have been a tipping point. The dispute with Watt — arguably the defining player in Texans history — resulted in O’Brien losing the team, in the view of one source (via ESPN.com’s Dianna Russini). The O’Brien-Watt argument took place days before the Texans’ loss to the Steelers.

Here is the latest from the South divisions, moving first to more Titans news:

  • At least three separate Titans offsite workouts took place last week over a multiday period, veteran NFL reporter Paul Kuharsky notes. A group that included Ryan Tannehill was spotted working out Sept. 30 at Montgomery Bell Academy, an area high school, while Kuharsky reports a different group — comprised of defensive backs — worked out at a park near Belmont University that day. Multiple workouts took place at the park near Belmont, per Kuharsky, who adds that Mike Vrabel said during an Oct. 1 Zoom call he told players not to conduct offsite workouts. The NFL is now investigating the Titans for this, and punishment for the coronavirus-stricken team could be severe. Tight end MyCole Pruitt, one of the Titans’ positive testers, was not at the offsite workouts, per Titaninsider.com’s Terry McCormick (on Twitter).
  • Prior to the Titans being barred from their headquarters, the NFL showed images of players and staffers walking around the team’s facility without masks, Albert Breer of SI.com notes. Aside from players during workouts, team personnel are required to wear masks inside team facilities. Twenty-three Titans players and staffers have tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Good news for the Falcons on the virus front. First-round cornerback A.J. Terrell returned to practice this week, Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com tweets. Terrell missed Atlanta’s past two games after being placed on the team’s reserve/COVID-19 list just before the Falcons’ Week 3 game.
  • For the sect of non-Chris Godwin fantasy managers who might have missed this (and the narrower swath of LeSean McCoy deep-league GMs), both Buccaneers will miss Thursday night’s game against the Bears. The Bucs declared Godwin and Shady out. This marks Godwin’s third missed game this season; he is battling a hamstring injury. Mike Evans, however, will play, per Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times (on Twitter). Evans was a game-time decision because of an ankle injury.
  • Eli Apple is set to miss more time. After successfully rehabbing one hamstring injury, the Panthers cornerback has encountered another. Matt Rhule said the recent acquisition pulled his other hamstring, per Joe Person of The Athletic (on Twitter). Apple missed Carolina’s first three games because of his initial hamstring injury. He has played just six snaps (all on special teams) this season.

Ryan Tannehill Agrees To Extension With Titans

The Titans have agreed to terms on a contract extension with quarterback Ryan Tannehill, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. A source informed Jeff Darlington of ESPN that the contract extension spans four years and worth a maximum of $118MM. The deal reportedly includes $62MM in fully guaranteed money and $91MM in partial guarantees.

This extension not only frees up Tennessee to use the Titans on another free agent (like running back Derrick Henry), it also takes them out of the running for impending free agent Tom Brady. Obviously, Brady’s free agency has been the largest storyline of the offseason and the many ties between the Titans regime and the Patriots only furthered those rumors.

Per Darlington’s report, Tannehill’s new contract makes for the sixth-highest full guarantee of any quarterback and would rank as the seventh most valuable contract for a quarterback by average per year value (slotting behind Matt Ryan and ahead of Kirk Cousins). Darlington added in a later tweet that Tannehill’s contract includes $17.5MM in full guarantees in 2020, $24.5MM in full guarantees in 2021, $29MM guaranteed for injury (that converts to full guarantees on the fifth day of the previous league year), and a $27.5MM base salary in 2022.

Tannehill followed a unique path to his nine-figure contract. After stalling out in Miami the Dolphins traded him to the Titans last offseason alongside a 2019 sixth-round pick for a 2019 seventh-round pick and 2020 fourth-round pick in a relatively underreported move. Tannehill entered the season as the team’s backup to Marcus Mariota, but as Mariota failed to take another step forward, Tannehill stepped in and led Tennessee on a late-season charge into the postseason where they upset the Patriots and nearly upset the eventual Super Bowl champion Chiefs.

In just 12 regular-season games (10 starts), Tannehill completed 70.3 percent of his passes and led the league in quarterback rating and nearly every yards per attempt statistic. Most valuably for Tennessee, his strong play out of play-action paired perfectly with their bruising running game (led by Henry). While Henry is still set for free agency, the Titans have gained new leverage now that their franchise tag is no longer necesarry for their quarterback.

Titans Not Interested In Tom Brady

Scratch the Titans off the list of Tom Brady suitors. Per Dianna Russini of ESPN.com, Tennessee is no longer interested in Brady and is focused on getting a deal done with incumbent Ryan Tannehill (Twitter link). Indeed, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com hears that Tannehill and the Titans are “on the verge” of a multi-year extension (Twitter link).

Earlier this month, there were reports that the Titans were confident they could beat out the Patriots for Brady’s services. Tennessee made a surprising run to the AFC Championship Game thanks in large part to Tannehill’s 2019 renaissance, but his uneven track record and the high price tag that goes hand-in-hand with his performance last season made it a possibility that the Titans could go in another direction.

The Titans were one of a handful of clubs that had a legitimate chance to use a franchise and transition tag this offseason, as Tannehill, RB Derrick Henry, and RT Jack Conklin are all eligible for free agency and would be at or near the top of the market for their respective positions. But now that a new CBA is in place and teams can only use one tag, the need to get at least one of those players under contract immediately is magnified.

After all, if the Titans had put all their eggs in the Brady basket, Tannehill could have gotten away and Tennessee could have been left scrambling for a replacement signal-caller. Henry will almost certainly be tagged, and it seems as if Conklin will hit the open market.

Meanwhile, the new CBA does allow for more flexibility for teams like the Patriots, who can spread out dead money hits for cut players and cap charges for free agent signees over multiple years. As Mike Reiss of ESPN.com notes, that could help New England in a competitive-bidding situation for Brady, and having one major competitor bow out of the race obviously increases the chances that Brady will return to Foxborough.