Ryan Tannehill

Ryan Tannehill Expected To Return In Week 10

The Titans have seen a glimpse of the future during their past two games, but their present starting quarterback should be available in Week 10. Ryan Tannehill is expected to make his return on Sunday, reports NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport (on Twitter).

The 34-year-old played through an ankle injury during Tennessee’s second win over Indianapolis this season. He was seen in a walking boot after that contest, though, leaving his immediate availability in question. The injury interrupted Tannehill’s fourth season with the Titans, during which he has thrown just six touchdowns in six games while averaging 183 passing yards per contest.

That has been driven in large part, of course, by the team’s commitment to Derrick Henry and the run game. Still, it does not represent the return to the form of previous years which he and the team were looking for. Given his age and contract status – the one-time Pro Bowler has a cap hit of $36.6MM next season, during which he is due a non-guaranteed salary of $27MM – Tannehill’s status as the starter was a topic of conversation in the offseason.

He was reportedly safe from the challenge of rookie Malik Willis entering the year, however, as the Liberty alum was seen as being in need of significant development time. It was the latter who filled in for Tannehill over the past two games. Looking to shelter him with an even more run-heavy approach, the Titans kept the third-rounder to just 26 pass attempts across their win over the Texans and loss to the Chiefs. Overall, Willis totaled 135 yards and an interception through the air, adding 52 yards on the ground.

With Tannehill back under center tomorrow, the Titans will look to rebound from that overtime primetime defeat against the struggling Broncos. Leading the AFC South at 5-3, Tennessee’s potential uptick in passing proficiency could help them secure a home playoff berth down the stretch, as Tannehill auditions to remain the team’s No. 1 QB.

Malik Willis To Remain Titans’ Starting QB In Week 9

With Ryan Tannehill still dealing with an ankle injury, he will be inactive for the second consecutive game, the Titans confirmed on Sunday. That will leave rookie Malik Willis as the team’s starter when they take on the Chiefs.

Tannehill suffered the injury two weeks ago, and his Week 8 availability was immediately thought to be in question. That led to Willis ultimately being named the starter for Tennessee’s 17-10 win over the Texans. Tannehill’s status was the subject of much scrutiny during the week in practice, and he traveled with the team to Kansas City over the weekend.

With the veteran unable to suit up again, though, Willis will retain the lead role. The third-rounder only threw 10 passes last week, as the team leaned even more heavily than usual on running back Derrick Henry, giving him 32 carries. The All-Pro racked up 219 rushing yards along with a pair of touchdowns, providing a formula the team might look to repeat tonight given Willis’ inexperience.

For the second consecutive week, Tennessee elevated Logan Woodside from the practice squad; he will dress as the backup tonight. Given that, and the difference in competition Willis will face from the Chiefs compared to the Texans, he may very well have to be more involved in the passing game. He showed an ability to move the ball with both his arms and legs during a highly productive stint at Liberty, and during his time in the preseason.

Of course, with Tannehill’s future beyond 2022 potentially in doubt, tonight’s primetime contest will also provide the Titans with another opportunity to evaluate the signal-caller drafted to be his successor. Willis and the 5-2 Titans will look to maintain their lead in the AFC South against a fellow division leader in the Chiefs.

Titans To Start Malik Willis At QB; Ryan Tannehill Ill

With starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill missing three days of practice this week due to illness, along with an ankle sprain, the Titans are set to give rookie third-round pick Malik Willis the first start of his career, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network. After extended time leading the offense in the preseason, Willis will face the Texans this Sunday afternoon for his first full game of NFL football.

Willis started all three preseason games for the Titans this August. In his playing time, Willis was able to display the dual-threat ability that made him such an attractive draft pick. In three games, Willis completed 28 of 51 pass attempts for 318 yards, throwing two touchdowns and one interception. On the ground, he was able to add 159 rushing yards and a touchdown on only 14 attempts.

Willis’ regular season action has been extremely limited as Tannehill holds a pretty secure grip on the starting job. He did, though, make his NFL debut late in a Week 2 blowout loss to the Bills. Head coach Mike Vrabel threw Willis right into the fire against one of the league’s best defenses, and it didn’t go great. Willis completed one of four pass attempts for only six yards in garbage time. He was able to get some production out of his legs, gaining 16 yards on four rushes, but lost a fumble in the process.

Willis didn’t get a ton of time with the team’s top receivers in his preseason play but was afforded the opportunity to work with the first team offense all of this week in practice. Unfortunately for Willis, quarterback isn’t the only position affected by injury in Tennessee. The Titans are one of the league’s more battered teams with 13 players currently on injured reserve, six of those being on offense and three of those being his pass catchers. In addition to those 13, the Titans have two players, fullback Tory Carter and pass rusher Rashad Weaver, who are set to sit out this weekend.

Willis’ healthy targets will consist of receivers Robert Woods, Nick Westbrook-Ikhine, Cody Hollister, and Chris Conley and tight ends Geoff Swaim and Austin Hooper. He should also be assisted by a rookie quarterback’s best friend: a strong run game. Having star running back Derrick Henry to draw a defense’s focus should open up the field for the rookie quarterback to find some success in his first start.

Tannehill is listed as questionable and is likely available to play in case of emergency, but the illness may be a blessing in disguise, letting the Titans rest their starting quarterback while allowing his sprained ankle a little extra time to heal. Likely a step between Willis and emergency, the Titans have elevated quarterback Logan Woodside from the practice squad. They will elevate defensive lineman Larrell Murchison for the weekend, as well.

The Titans currently reside atop one of the NFL’s weaker divisions at 4-2. With the second-place Colts undergoing a transition at quarterback, Tennessee should feel fairly comfortable with their division lead, allowing them to make this play at quarterback. Tannehill will get some rest and Willis will get some experience.

Ryan Tannehill Dealing With Ankle Injury

The Titans completed a season sweep of the Colts on Sunday, but quarterback Ryan Tannehill injured his ankle during the process. His post-game remarks pointed to a potential Week 8 absence.

“It doesn’t feel great,” the 34-year-old said of his ankle. “It comes with the territory… I’m going to be out there if I can at all, if at all possible. I’m going to do everything I can this week to get it right.”

Tannehill was wearing a walking boot on Sunday, a sign of how significant the injury is. It only sidelined him for one play during the contest, however, during which backup Malik Willis replaced him. The third-round rookie (who also saw two other snaps against the Colts, though not under center) would take on the starter’s role if Tannehill is unable to recover in time.

Head coach Mike Vrabel provided a positive update on the situation yesterday, however. “[Tannehill’s] progressing,” he said. “A lot of guys, day after the game, are in there getting treatment. We’ll continue to evaluate all of those guys and see where we are on Wednesday,” adding, “we’ll continue to see where Ryan is and we’ll get everybody ready that we feel like needs to get ready.”

Given Tannehill’s age and contract status, it came as little surprise when the Titans drafted Willis in April. The former had an underwhelming 2021 campaign, and has no guaranteed money on the final year of his contract in 2023, which carries a cap hit of $36.6MM. That led some to speculate before the regular season that a QB controversy could be coming soon, but it was reported in September that any changing of the guard would take place no earlier than next season.

Tannehill has helped lead the Titans to a division-leading 4-2 record, though he has guided an underwhelming offense in the process. Tennessee ranks 21st in scoring (19.2 points per game) and 31st in yards (292.5 per contest) through six weeks. His status will be worth monitoring in the coming days, in the build-up to the Titans’ Week 8 game against the Texans.

Latest On Titans’ QB Situation

The Titans were one of several teams who used Day 2 of this April’s draft to add to their quarterback room. The addition of Malik Willis – who was seen by many as the signal-caller with the most upside in the 2022 class – led to questions about Ryan Tannehill‘s hold on the No. 1 spot. 

As confirmed by Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero of NFL Network, however, “there is no competition or controversy” in Nashville at the position. Willis put up notable production after transferring to Liberty for the final two seasons of his college career, totaling 5,107 passing yards and 47 touchdowns. He added 1,822 yards and another 27 scores on the ground, showcasing the rushing ability which made him stand out from an underwhelming crop of prospects.

That, coupled with Willis’ preseason performances, fueled speculation that he could see the field relatively early. The Titans traded up to select him, and Tannehill’s disappointing 2021 season ended with a three-interception performance in the Divisional Round. The latter was not informed of the decision to draft Willis, but he has had a largely successful stint with the team and is due $27MM in 2022.

As a result, the Titans “fully expect” Tannehill to operate as the undisputed starter this season, where he will look to guide an offense no longer featuring A.J. Brown to another AFC-topping regular season. The team also publicly supported him in February, despite the underwhelming nature of his postseason. Given the $36MM cap charge he is scheduled to have in 2023 (along with no guaranteed money), however, Rapoport and Pelissero acknowledge that things could be very different for Tannehill one year from now.

The 34-year-old put up two touchdowns and a passer rating of 106.4 during yesterday’s loss to the Giants. His ability to improve on that performance throughout the season will be worth watching as his potential successor remains on the sidelines for the foreseeable future.

Largest 2022 Cap Hits: Offense

After the COVID-19 pandemic led to the second reduction in NFL salary cap history last year, the 2022 cap made a record jump. This year’s salary ceiling ($208.2MM) checks in $25.7MM north of the 2021 figure.

While quarterbacks’ salaries will continue to lead the way, a handful of blockers and skill-position players carry sizable cap numbers for 2022. A few of the quarterbacks that lead the way this year may not be tied to those numbers once the regular season begins. The 49ers, Browns and Ravens have made efforts to alter these figures via trades or extensions.

Here are the top 2022 salary cap hits on the offensive side of the ball:

  1. Ryan Tannehill, QB (Titans): $38.6MM
  2. Patrick Mahomes, QB (Chiefs): $35.79MM
  3. Kirk Cousins, QB (Vikings): $31.42MM
  4. Jared Goff, QB (Lions): $31.15MM
  5. Aaron Rodgers, QB (Packers): $28.53MM
  6. Carson Wentz, QB (Commanders): $28.29MM
  7. Jimmy Garoppolo, QB (49ers): $26.95MM
  8. Russell Wilson, QB (Broncos): $24MM
  9. Lamar Jackson, QB (Ravens): $23.02MM
  10. Kenny Golladay, WR (Giants): $21.2MM
  11. Garett Bolles, T (Broncos): $21MM
  12. Dak Prescott, QB (Cowboys): $19.73MM
  13. Derek Carr, QB (Raiders): $19.38MM
  14. D.J. Humphries, T (Cardinals): $19.33MM
  15. Keenan Allen, WR (Chargers): $19.2MM
  16. Taylor Decker, T (Lions): $18.9MM
  17. Sam Darnold, QB (Panthers): 18.89MM
  18. Baker Mayfield, QB (Browns): $18.89MM
  19. Matt Ryan, QB (Colts): $18.7MM
  20. Ronnie Stanley, T (Ravens): $18.55MM
  21. Donovan Smith, T (Buccaneers): $18.4MM
  22. Ezekiel Elliott, RB (Cowboys): $18.22MM
  23. DeAndre Hopkins, WR (Cardinals): $17.95MM
  24. Cooper Kupp, WR (Rams): $17.8MM
  25. Laremy Tunsil, T (Texans): $17.71MM
  • The Chiefs’ cap sheet looks a bit different this year, with Tyreek Hill and Tyrann Mathieu off the roster. But Mahomes’ cap number rockets from $7.4MM in 2021 to the league’s second-largest figure in 2022. This marks the first time Mahomes’ 10-year contract is set to count more than $10MM toward Kansas City’s cap, with the AFC West champs not yet restructuring the deal this year.
  • Tied to a few lucrative extensions since relocating to Minnesota, Cousins’ third Vikings deal dropped his cap number from $45MM. The fifth-year Vikings QB’s cap number is set to climb past $36MM in 2023.
  • Prior to negotiating his landmark extension in March, Rodgers was set to count more than $46MM on the Packers’ payroll.
  • The 49ers are aiming to move Garoppolo’s nonguaranteed money off their payroll. That figure becomes guaranteed in Week 1, providing a key date for the franchise. San Francisco is prepared to let Garoppolo negotiate contract adjustments with other teams to facilitate a trade.
  • Wilson counts $26MM on the Seahawks’ 2022 payroll, due to the dead money the NFC West franchise incurred by trading its 10-year starter in March.
  • Jackson, Darnold and Mayfield are attached to fifth-year option salaries. Jackson’s is higher due to the former MVP having made two Pro Bowls compared to his 2018 first-round peers’ zero. The 2020 CBA separated fifth-year option values by playing time and accomplishments. The Browns and Panthers have engaged in off-and-on negotiations on divvying up Mayfield’s salary for months, while a Jackson extension remains on the radar.
  • Golladay’s cap number jumped from $4.47MM last year to the highest non-quarterback figure among offensive players. The Giants wideout’s four-year deal calls for $21MM-plus cap hits from 2023-24.
  • Prior to being traded to the Colts, who adjusted their new starter’s contract, Ryan was set to carry an NFL-record $48MM cap hit this year. The Falcons are carrying a league-record $40.5MM dead-money charge after dealing their 14-year starter.
  • The Texans restructured Tunsil’s deal in March, dropping his 2022 cap hit from $26.6MM to its present figure. Because of the adjustment, Tunsil’s 2023 cap number resides at $35.2MM

Contract information courtesy of Over The Cap 

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.