Ryan Tannehill

Ryan Tannehill On Steelers’ Radar?

After Will Levis took over for an injured Ryan Tannehill midway through the 2023 season, the latter’s Titans tenure appeared to come to a close. Tannehill is a pending free agent, but he should draw interest from a number of potential suitors.

One of those is likely to be the Steelers, Ian Rapoport, Tom Pelissero and Mike Garafolo of NFL Network write. Pittsburgh hired ex-Falcons head coach Arthur Smith as offensive coordinator, meaning a Tannehill deal would mark a reunion. He and Smith worked together in Tennessee, during which time Tannehill had the most productive seasons of his career.

Smith served as the Titans’ OC in 2019 and ’20, Tannehill’s first two campaigns in Nashville. He earned his lone Pro Bowl nod, along with Comeback Player of the Year honors in 2019 while averaging a league-leading 9.2 yards per attempt. The former Dolphins first-rounder followed that up with 3,819 yards and a 33:7 touchdown-to-interception ratio, proving to be a solid fit in Smith’s run-heavy scheme. With Levis now in the fold, though, Tannehill (along with fellow stalwart Derrick Henry) is on track to depart in free agency.

In three seasons since Smith parlayed his coordinator success into Atlanta’s head coaching gig, Tannehill has regressed statistically while dealing with multiple injuries. In November, he was demoted to backup behind Levis, who showed flashes in his rookie campaign. Tannehill – who insisted he did not seek out his release in the aftermath of that decision – started the final three games of the campaign with Levis sidelined, giving him one last audition period before reaching the open market.

Tannehill, 35, is one of several veteran signal-callers in this year’s projected free agent class. Kirk CousinsBaker Mayfield and Gardner Minshew could command more lucrative deals if they do not remain with their respective teams, but Tannehill could at least compete for a starting role in the right environment. Pittsburgh has Kenny Pickett, Mason Rudolph and Mitch Trubisky in place for now, but changes at the position are expected.

Trubisky is likely to be released after finding himself demoted to third-stringer, while Rudolph is a pending free agent. He could be retained, but a new deal would likely depend on the potential of winning the starting position in training camp. Pickett is under team control for at least two more years, but he was passed over in favor of Rudolph during the team’s late-season playoff push and wild-card loss. The 2022 first-rounder will enter the offseason as QB1, but a competition will take place.

Tannehill will be in line for a far smaller deal than the four-year, $118MM pact he signed in 2020 on his next contract. The Steelers, meanwhile, are among the teams currently set to be over the salary cap for the 2024 league year, although they like all others will make a number of cost-cutting moves in the coming weeks. Any interest between the two parties will be worth watching as the QB market begins to take shape.

Titans’ Ryan Tannehill Not Seeking Release

Speculation (and at least one false report) has emerged recently indicating Ryan Tannehill intends to depart the Titans to pursue a starting role elsewhere in 2023. The veteran quarterback made it clear on Friday that is not the case.

Tannehill, who entered the season with questions about his future in Tennessee given his age and contract status, has seen his run as a starter come to an end. Despite returning to health from an ankle injury, the 35-year-old has been demoted to backup behind rookie Will Levis. The latter has started each of the past three games, and he will remain the No. 1 moving forward.

That appeared to make Tannehill a trade chip ahead of the deadline, though the Titans would have needed to retain a portion of his remaining 2023 salary ($27MM) for a swap to be feasible. With the trade deadline having come and gone, a release would now be necessary for him to find a new team – either by being claimed off waivers or clearing and signing with an interested suitor as a free agent. When speaking to the media, Tannehill confirmed that is not in the cards.

“I was kind of caught off guard by those reports as well,” the former Comeback Player of the Year said, via Titans reporter Paul Kuharsky (video link). “Obviously, I have a desire to play, but I just don’t know what that looks like at this point.” 

Tannehill added no discussions have taken place with head coach Mike Vrabel on the topic of releasing him before the end of the campaign. While a number of teams in contention for a postseason berth could certainly use a veteran signal-caller, Tannehill will be a valued member of a QBs room which features Levis and Malik Willis, who has 66 pass attempts to his name. Unless Levis loses his grip on the starter’s role, though, Tannehill is in line for an interesting free agent period.

The latter will see his four-year, $118MM deal expire in March, setting him up for a departure from Nashville. As things currently stand, though, he is content for that to mark the point at which he entertains offers on a contract allowing him to reclaim a starting gig.

Titans To Keep Will Levis As Starter; Ryan Tannehill Moved To Backup Role

Will Levis did not beat out Malik Willis for the backup role out of training camp, but after two starts in relief of Ryan Tannehill, the second-round rookie will make a major jump. Mike Vrabel named Levis his starter going forward.

Once Tannehill recovers from his latest ankle injury, Vrabel confirmed (via ESPN.com’s Turron Davenport) he will be the backup. This will be Tannehill’s first time in a backup role since the opening weeks of the 2019 season, when Tennessee kept Marcus Mariota in place as the starter.

Like Mariota in 2019, Tannehill is in a contract year. Following the ex-Dolphins starter’s surprisingly productive (and surprisingly healthy) stretch upon replacing Mariota four years ago, the Titans gave Tannehill a four-year extension worth $118MM. This came just before the start of free agency in 2020, allowing the team to use its franchise tag on Derrick Henry. Tannehill started 61 games for the Titans over the past five seasons. Barring a Levis injury, it looks likely he will not start a 62nd for the team.

Although Warren Moon and Dan Pastorini started more games than Tannehill with the franchise, only Steve McNair outranks the 2012 first-rounder for QB starts as a Titan. The team was believed to have considered Tannehill trades this past April, when it was regularly linked to moving up for a first-round quarterback. New GM Ran Carthon was believed to have bowed out of the running for a Round 1 move up when the Texans chose C.J. Stroud. In Round 2, however, Carthon resumed the pursuit by trading up with the Cardinals for Levis.

As Tannehill moves toward free agency, Levis joins Stroud and Anthony Richardson as long-term options under center in the AFC South. The No. 33 overall pick, Levis took a more complicated route to this point. He was widely expected to become a first-round pick, with the Colts frequently connected to the Kentucky product. After Indianapolis went with Richardson, Levis tumbled down the board and out of the first round. The Titans traded a 2024 third-rounder to move up for Levis, who has an extended runway to show he can be Tennessee’s unquestioned starter for the ’24 season.

In two games as a starter, Levis has completed 60.3% of his passes — at 7.4 yards per throw — and tallied four touchdown tosses compared to one interception. The Titans topped the Falcons in Week 8, with Levis hitting DeAndre Hopkins for three scores, and narrowly lost to the Steelers in Week 9. Had the Titans drifted off track to start the season, an extended look was always likely for Levis. Now that Tennessee sits 3-5, the team will see what Levis can offer down the stretch.

Both Tannehill and Willis were acquired during GM Jon Robinson‘s run. With Carthon drafting Levis, this could begin a new era for the Titans. Willis remains on Tennessee’s 53-man roster, but after Levis leapfrogged him, the raw passer has a cloudy future in Nashville. Tannehill has now missed seven games over the past two seasons due to ankle trouble. That will likely affect his 2024 free agency bid, though teams should still be interested in a quarterback who piloted the Titans to three playoff berths and the 2019 AFC championship game.

Titans Planning To Start Will Levis In Week 8; Malik Willis Expected To See Time

OCTOBER 27: As expected, the Titans ruled out Tannehill for Week 8. After not missing a start during his first three seasons with Tennessee, the former injury-prone Miami starter has seen ankle trouble sideline him again. This will be Tannehill’s sixth ankle-driven absence in the past two seasons.

OCTOBER 25: Exiting their bye at 2-4, the Titans made a notable trade Monday in sending All-Pro safety Kevin Byard to the Eagles. On the heels of that decision, Tennessee is expected to roll with an unorthodox plan at quarterback in Week 8.

Mike Vrabel said both Malik Willis and Will Levis are likely to play against the Falcons, but NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport adds the rookie is expected to make the start in the event Ryan Tannehill cannot go. Dealing with an ankle injury, Tannehill is unlikely to play against Atlanta. The Titans may go as far to alternate Levis and Willis by series, Vrabel added (via ESPN.com’s Turron Davenport), though the sixth-year Tennessee HC did not confirm Tannehill would miss the game.

When Tannehill went down during the Titans’ loss to the Ravens in London, Willis received the first call. The 2022 third-round pick worked as Tannehill’s backup for much of last season, though he experienced initial struggles acclimating to the NFL. Willis still beat out Levis for Tennessee’s QB2 job coming into this season, but the Titans will take a longer look at the second-round rookie. The No. 33 overall pick is on track to see more time than Willis, per Rapoport.

The Titans are in the unusual position of attempting to develop two quarterbacks behind Tannehill. While Willis qualifies as a developmental option, he did not threaten Tannehill’s job security last season. Willis’ first-year woes (50.8% completion rate, 4.5 yards per attempt) led the Titans to sign Josh Dobbs off the Lions’ practice squad late last year and use the latter as their starter in Weeks 17 and 18. Willis also arrived under since-fired GM Jon Robinson, whereas new GM Ran Carthon selected Levis in April.

Closely linked to a quarterback trade-up in Round 1, the Titans engaged in talks with the Cardinals about moving up to No. 3. C.J. Stroud was believed to be the team’s target, but when the Texans chose Stroud at No. 2 overall, the Titans are believed to have backed out of trade talks and regrouped. Tennessee chose guard Peter Skoronski at No. 11 but made its QB strike early the following night, reengaging with the Cards by moving up eight spots for Levis, who was heavily rumored to be a first-round pick.

Mentioned as a Colts target at No. 4 overall, Levis indeed had fans in Indianapolis’ building. But the Colts look to have run a bit of a smokescreen aimed at drafting Anthony Richardson. A two-year starter at Kentucky, Levis tumbled out of Round 1 and hit the developmental track as the other top QBs in this class received calls to start in Week 1.

The Titans entered their bye week bracing for another Tannehill absence. The 12th-year quarterback missed two sections of last season because of ankle trouble, the first of which coming around midseason and leading Willis into the lineup. Vrabel likened Tannehill’s current injury to the one he sustained midway through last year, as opposed to the malady that required a season-ending surgery last December. Tannehill, 35, is in the final season of a four-year Titans contract. Levis seeing extended time this season makes sense, and signs of a long Levis look open the door to more seller’s trades from a Titans team that made several cost-cutting moves this offseason.

Titans Bracing For Ryan Tannehill Absence

Two Titans quarterbacks are in development behind Ryan Tannehill. After the organization has attempted to back-burner the training of Malik Willis and Will Levis, one of the two will likely need to start when the team comes off its bye in Week 8.

The Titans are bracing to be without Tannehill due to the high ankle sprain he suffered Sunday in London, ESPN.com’s Jeremy Fowler notes. Tannehill injured the same right ankle on which he underwent surgery. The 12th-year quarterback suffered multiple injuries to this ankle last season, the first costing him midseason time and the second leading to the season-ending procedure.

Tannehill’s latest injury is not believed to be as serious as the one that shut down the five-year Titans starter, per Fowler, though a multi-game absence is in play. But Mike Vrabel compared it to the malady that sidelined his starter in October 2022. Even with the Titans in their bye week, it appears likely Tannehill will not be ready to go after an extra stretch of rest.

Tennessee moved Willis into its lineup against Baltimore. While the 2022 third-round pick completed four of five passes, much his 80 yards came on a Tyjae Spears catch-and-run. The Liberty alum took four sacks in two drives against the Ravens. Willis looked incredibly raw when called upon as a rookie, almost definitely costing the Titans a win in Kansas City and then seeing the team use Josh Dobbs to close out the season despite the latter being signed off the Lions’ practice squad days before. Levis has not taken any regular-season snaps, with Willis having beaten out the second-round pick for the QB2 job during the preseason.

The Titans are giving each young QB extra work during the bye week, per Jim Wyatt of the team website. Developing two QBs has introduced an interesting dynamic, one pass-game coordinator Charles London called “unusual.” Vrabel was present when the Titans stopped Willis’ slide last year, while GM Ran Carthon had no hand in the Willis pick. Carthon engineered a trade-up for Levis at No. 34 — coming after steady buzz the Titans would trade up in Round 1 for a Tannehill heir apparent. Once the Texans chose C.J. Stroud at No. 2 overall, the Titans were believed to have ended their effort to climb up the board in Round 1.

Tannehill’s four-year, $118MM contract expires at season’s end, making a midseason audition from one or both of the backups pertinent to the team’s future. The Titans were believed to have dangled their starter in trades before the draft, and it is no secret the former top-10 pick’s Titans future is cloudy as a lame duck. Tannehill, 35, will need to bounce back upon return from this injury to solidify a 2024 free agent market. Although injuries led Tannehill out of Miami, he stayed healthy from 2019-21 to lead Tennessee to three playoff berths. But ankle trouble has intervened regularly over the past year.

With Tennessee at 2-4 and likely needing to start one of its unseasoned reserves, the prospect of a late-season audition — along the lines of what the Falcons provided Desmond Ridder last year — could be in play should the team drift off the contention radar. The Titans have qualified for the playoffs or been in that mix since 2017, but they made several cost-cutting moves this offseason — a few of which coming on the offensive line. Should losses pile up, the retooling team will face decisions at the trade deadline (regarding non-QB pieces) and down the stretch (at quarterback).

QB Updates: Tannehill, Lawrence, Garoppolo

Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who left Tottenham Hotspur Stadium yesterday on crutches, has reportedly suffered a high ankle sprain on his right leg, according to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN. This type of injury routinely requires a decent amount of recovery time, putting his status for the team’s next game in doubt, but with a bye week between now and then, it’s not a guarantee that he will be unavailable the next time Tennessee takes the field.

Head coach Mike Vrabel relayed to the media that this injury looks similar to Tannehill’s injury last year, going on to specify that he was referencing the first ankle injury Tannehill suffered earlier in the season and not the one later on that would require surgery, per ESPN’s Turron Davenport. Terry McCormick of TitansInsider.com reported further comments from Vrabel stating that, if healthy, Tannehill would still be the team’s starting quarterback.

Here are a few other injury updates to passers in the AFC:

  • On a short week, Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence‘s status for this week’s Thursday Night Football trip to New Orleans is in question. According to Ian Rapoport, after he injured his knee in last week’s win over the Colts, MRIs revealed a slight knee sprain that could threaten Lawrence’s availability. Lawrence wouldn’t normally need to practice much in a short week anyway, but while nursing a knee sprain, they’ll likely only test his knee out to determine his status for this week’s contest. Backup quarterback C.J. Beathard would step in if Lawrence isn’t able to go.
  • After sending quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to the hospital mid-game yesterday, the Raiders received “better than expected news” after a flurry of tests, per Rapoport. They sought out the hospital’s assistance with their superior equipment as they evaluated Garoppolo for injuries to his ribs and back and ruled out any internal injuries. While not ruling it out completely, Rapoport claimed it would be “a challenge” for Garoppolo to play this week. If he’s unable to go, either Brian Hoyer or fourth-round pick Aidan O’Connell would get the start in Chicago. Hoyer sealed the victory in relief of Garoppolo over their former team yesterday, while O’Connell got the start in the Raiders’ Week 4 loss to the Chargers.

Injury Notes: Harris, Tannehill, Garoppolo, Montgomery

Another scary scene in a Bills‘ regular season game, this time on their own home turf. Shortly before halftime in tonight’s Sunday Night Football game, Bills running back Damien Harris went down after an awkward-looking stinger and laid motionless on the turf, per Alaina Getzenberg of ESPN, requiring Buffalo’s award-winning medical staff to leap into action once again.

Jay Skurski of The Buffalo News reported that Harris was able to give the stadium a thumbs up as he was loaded into the ambulance in the middle of the field, providing a bit of comfort in a terrifying situation. Reports quickly followed that Harris was ruled out for the remainder of the contest with a neck injury but that he had movement in his arms and legs as he was being taken to the hospital for further testing, according to The Athletic’s Joe Buscaglia.

While James Cook has shouldered most of the load at running back in Buffalo so far this year, Harris has worked in tandem with Latavius Muray to spell Cook here and there. Harris came into the game as the team’s second-leading rusher in the running backs room. Hopefully, Harris will be able to make a quick and strong return to the field and retake his role in the Bills’ backfield.

Here are a few other injury rumors from around the NFL today:

  • Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill suffered a right ankle injury in today’s loss to the Ravens in Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London. After the initial injury, when a Ravens defender rolled over the back of Tannehill’s legs on a sack, the veteran quarterback attempted to return to the game. He found it difficult to step into throws and subsequently threw an interception. He told the media after the game that he felt he couldn’t be effective with the injury, leading to the entry of backup quarterback Malik Willis. According to ESPN’s Turron Davenport, Tannehill was on crutches after the game with plans to undergo an MRI once back in Tennessee. He missed the last three games of the season last year due to an injury to that same ankle, so there may be some concern about further damage to a previous injury. Despite the early hype, second-round rookie Will Levis has not been active for recent games, leading to the use of Willis. With a bye week coming up, there are myriad possibilities in the quarterbacks room. Tannehill could have plenty of time to heal, Willis could have ample time to prepare, or Levis could use the time to earn the staff’s trust, along with his first start.
  • The Raiders played the second half of today’s win over New England without starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo after the former Patriot left the game with a back injury. Adam Schefter of ESPN reported that Las Vegas chose to “err on the side of caution” with their 31-year-old quarterback, sending him to the hospital mid-game for some precautionary tests.
  • Lions running back David Montgomery was knocked out of today’s win over the Buccaneers with a rib injury, according to Schefter. With Jahmyr Gibbs already ruled out while nursing a hamstring injury, Detroit turned to third- and fourth-string backs Craig Reynolds and Devine Ozigbo. X-rays came back negative on Montgomery’s ribs, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network, a good sign that Montgomery may have avoided serious injury to his ribs. If neither Montgomery nor Gibbs are able to return for next week’s trip to Baltimore, expect more of Reynolds and Ozigbo.

Titans’ Ryan Tannehill Was Available In Pre-Draft Trade?

Much has been made about Ryan Tannehill‘s future with the Titans over the past two offseasons, given his age and contract status. The veteran signal-caller has been mentioned in trade talks with a pair of quarterbacks added in the past two drafts, and he may have come close to seeing his Tennessee tenure end this past April.

ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler notes that “a few teams” around the league believed Tannehill was available to be acquired via trade before the 2023 draft. The 35-year-old was indeed named as a player to watch on the trade front not long before the draft began, with the Titans being linked to a number of rookie passers. They ultimately traded up to select Will Levis with the No. 33 pick, giving them a presumed Tannehill successor.

The latter had nevertheless received a vote of confidence from new general manager Ran Carthon one month earlier, putting him on track to retain his QB1 status for at least the start of the 2023 campaign. His Week 1 performance – 16-of-34 passing, 198 scoreless yards and three interceptions – in the team’s loss to the Saints was reminiscent of his 2022 struggles. Tannehill dealt with a number of injury issues last season and his drop-off in play led to speculation the team could move on despite one year remaining on his contract.

The former Dolphins top-10 pick’s deal carries a $36.6MM cap hit, and trading or releasing him would have cleared up funds while paving the way for Levis to take on starting duties right away. The latter had injury concerns of his own entering the league, however, and the Titans remain intent on keeping he and Malik Willis sidelined as developmental options for the time being. With an heir apparent seemingly in place and Tannehill set to hit free agency in March, though, it will worth watching how the team handles the veteran moving forward.

Tannehill is one of many experienced QBs who have been floated as Jets trade targets in the wake of Aaron Rodgers‘ Achilles tear. New York did homework on the Pro Bowler this past offseason before seeing the preferred route of acquiring Rodgers come to bear. For the time being, the Jets would rather sign a street free agent than give up draft capital to add to their QB room. If that mindset changes, though, they could be among the teams who have at least recently shown interest in pulling off a Tannehill swap.

Largest 2023 Cap Hits: Offense

The NFL’s salary cap once again ballooned by more than $10MM, rising from its $208.2MM perch to $224.8MM. Factoring in the pandemic-induced 2021 regression, the NFL’s salary risen has climbed by more than $42MM since 2021.

This has allowed teams more opportunities for roster additions and opened the door for more lucrative player deals — at most positions, at least. However, it does not look like this season will include a $40MM player cap number. The Browns avoided a record-shattering Deshaun Watson $54.9MM hit by restructuring the quarterback’s fully guaranteed contract, calling for monster figures from 2024-26.

Here are the largest cap hits for teams on the offensive side going into training camp:

  1. Patrick Mahomes, QB (Chiefs): $39.69MM
  2. Ryan Tannehill, QB (Titans): $36.6MM
  3. Jared Goff, QB (Lions): $30.98MM
  4. Jake Matthews, T (Falcons): $28.36MM
  5. Trent Williams, T (49ers): $27.18MM
  6. Dak Prescott, QB (Cowboys): $26.83MM
  7. Laremy Tunsil, T (Texans): $26.61MM
  8. Jimmy Garoppolo, QB (49ers): $23.8MM
  9. Amari Cooper, WR (Browns): $23.78MM
  10. Mike Evans, WR (Buccaneers): $23.69MM
  11. Ronnie Stanley, T (Ravens): $23.67MM
  12. Joe Thuney, G (Chiefs): $22.12MM
  13. Russell Wilson, QB (Broncos): $22MM
  14. Lamar Jackson, QB (Ravens): $22MM
  15. Daniel Jones, QB (Giants): $21.75MM
  16. David Bakhtiari, T (Packers): $21.29MM
  17. Kirk Cousins, QB (Vikings): $20.25MM
  18. D.J. Moore, WR (Bears): $20.17MM
  19. Matthew Stafford, QB (Rams): $20MM
  20. Brian O’Neill, T (Vikings): $19.66MM
  21. Taylor Decker, T (Lions): $19.35MM
  22. Deshaun Watson, QB (Browns): $19.1MM
  23. Braden Smith, T (Colts): $19MM
  24. Josh Allen, QB (Bills): $18.64MM
  25. Courtland Sutton, WR (Broncos): $18.27MM

As should be expected, quarterbacks dominate this list. Mahomes’ number checks in here despite the Chiefs restructuring his 10-year, $450MM contract in March; the two-time MVP’s cap hit would have set an NFL record had Kansas City not reduced it. The Chiefs did not restructure Mahomes’ deal last year, but if they do not address it — perhaps via a complex reworking — before next season, Mahomes’ $46.93MM number would break an NFL record.

The Titans have not touched Tannehill’s contract this offseason, one that included some trade rumors months ago. This is the final year of Tannehill’s Tennessee extension. Mahomes and Tannehill sat atop this ranking in 2022.

Cousins is also heading into a contract year, after the Vikings opted for a restructure and not an extension this offseason. Cousins does not expect to discuss another Minnesota deal until 2024, when he is due for free agency. Two relatively low cap numbers have started Wilson’s $49MM-per-year extension. The Denver QB’s cap number rises to $35.4MM in 2024 and reaches historic heights ($55.4MM) by ’25. The subject of a Goff extension has come up, and it would bring down the Lions passer’s figure. But Goff remains tied to his Rams-constructed $33.5MM-per-year deal through 2024.

Jackson and Jones’ numbers will rise in the near future, with the latter’s contract calling for a quick spike in 2024. Next year, the Giants QB’s cap hit will be $45MM. Watson’s 2024 hit, as of now, would top that. The Browns signal-caller is on the team’s ’24 payroll at $63.98MM. Long-term consequences aside, the Browns can be expected to once again go to the restructure well with Watson’s outlier contract.

The Raiders did not backload Garoppolo’s three-year contract; it only climbs to $24.25MM on Las Vegas’ 2024 cap sheet. The Bills did backload Allen’s pact. Its team-friendly years are done after 2023; the six-year accord spikes to $47.1MM on Buffalo’s cap next year. The Cowboys have gone to the restructure well with Prescott. Like Watson, the Cowboys quarterback is tied to a seemingly untenable 2024 cap number. The March restructure resulted in Prescott’s 2024 number rising to $59.46MM. Two seasons remain on that $40MM-AAV extension.

Another notable cap hold that should be mentioned is Tom Brady‘s. When the Buccaneers did not sign the again-retired QB to another contract before the 2023 league year, his $35.1MM dead-money figure went onto Tampa Bay’s 2023 cap sheet. The Bucs will absorb that entire amount this year. Brady’s 2022 restructure, after retirement No. 1, led to the $35.1MM figure forming.

Were it not for another O-line-record extension, the Tunsil number would have come in at $35MM this year. Matthews signed an extension last year. Moore would have come in higher on this list were he still on the Panthers, who took on $14.6MM in dead money to move their top wideout for the No. 1 overall pick. Sutton came up regularly in trade rumors, with the Broncos wanting a second-round pick for the sixth-year veteran. The former second-rounder’s high base salary ($14MM) hinders his trade value.

QB Malik Willis Not Guaranteed To Make Titans Roster

Despite being selected in the third round of the 2022 draft, Malik Willis isn’t a lock to make the Titans roster. While Jim Wyatt of the team’s website believes the quarterback will ultimately make the squad, he cautions that the “roster spot isn’t guaranteed.”

The Titans drafted Willis as more of a long-term project instead of a definitive successor to Ryan Tannehill, but the Liberty product was thrown into the fire as a rookie. Willis ended up going 1-2 in his three starts, completing 50.8 percent of his passes for 276 and three interceptions. He also added 123 rushing yards and one touchdown on 27 attempts.

Tannehill struggled through injuries and saw a drop in production in 2022, but the Titans will bring him back for at least one more season in 2023. At one time, the organization likely envisioned Willis stepping into a full-time role for the 2024 campaign, but things quickly changed during this past year’s draft.

Will Levis fell out of the first round, and the Titans made a move to acquire the No. 33 pick and select the Kentucky quarterback. Levis is now the clear future at the position for the Titans, leaving Willis on the outside looking in. Coach Mike Vrabel previously labeled Willis as his QB2 and the rookie as QB3, but it now sounds like the second-year quarterback will be fighting for his roster spot.

Passing game coordinator Tim Kelly and quarterbacks coach Charles London reportedly are not sold on Willis, and even with the new rule that provides an extra roster spot for a third QB, Wyatt thinks the 24-year-old will have to earn his way on the team. On the flip side, Wyatt also thinks Willis looked better than Levis during minicamp, and the writer is more confident now than he was before that the team will ultimately carry all three quarterbacks.

Fortunately for the Titans, it doesn’t sound like Willis is distracted by his uncertain roster status.

“I don’t really get into all that,” Willis said (via NFL.com). “I just try to go to work every day. … It’s a results-based business. It doesn’t matter what I think, it doesn’t matter what you think, it just is. I am just focusing on what I can control.”