Titans Rumors

Titans Pick Up Marcus Mariota’s Option

No surprise here, but the Titans will exercise Marcus Mariota‘s fifth-year option. Titans GM Jon Robinson confirmed the news in a radio interview on Wednesday (Twitter link via Paul Kuharsky).

The plan is over the next couple of days to exercise Marcus Mariota’s fifth-year option,” Robinson said in a press release. “He is an important part of this team, as are a lot of players. We’re excited to have him around here for the next couple of years and hopefully after the next season we can start to figure something out to keep him around him even longer.

Mariota, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2015 draft, is coming off of another solid season in which he conducted four game-winning drives, the most of any QB in the NFL. Mariota’s numbers weren’t great overall (his 13:15 TD/INT ratio leaves much to be desired), but many of those missteps can be forgiven in light of the injuries he played through last year. Mariota went into the offseason dealing with hamstring, leg, and ankle issues and managed to miss just one start and played through the pain in both of Tennessee’s playoff contests.

In his playoff debut, Mariota led the Titans on a remarkable second half comeback to top the Chiefs in the Wild Card round. In the next round, the Patriots largely kept Mariota in check as he completed less than 60% of his passes and threw for only two touchdowns.

The fifth-year option is guaranteed for injury only, so the Titans can escape the additional 2019 season in the event that his performance suffers for non-health reasons.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Titans Notes: Hubbard, Alexander

Ohio State defensive end Sam Hubbard is scheduled to meet with the Titans this week, tweets Jordan Schultz of Yahoo Sports. During his final season with the Buckeyes, the 6’5″, 265-pound Hubbard posted seven sacks and 13.5 tackles for loss, and is widely viewed as a late-first- or early-second-round selection. While Hubbard reportedly ran a disappointing 4.96-second 40-yard dash at his Pro Day, his three-cone time places him in the 96th percentile among defensive ends, and he ranks 15th among 2018’s edge rushing prospects in SPARQ, a composite score that measures athleticism. Tennessee ranked 12th in pressure rate a season ago, but could be searching for a young edge rusher to play behind starters Brian Orakpo and Derrick Morgan.

  • Louisville cornerback Jaire Alexander visited the Titans today, reports Paul Kuharsky of PaulKuharsky.com (Twitter link). Tennessee has invested heavily its in secondary over the past two years, adding free agents such as Malcolm Butler and Logan Ryan while expending a first-round pick on Adoree’ Jackson. Alexander would give the club yet another option, and Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com — who ranks Alexander as the draft’s 16th-best prospect — says the ex-Cardinal is “rarely out of position” and has “elite ball awareness.”

Contract Details: Lions, Cassel, Titans

Contract

  • Matt Cassel‘s deal with the Lions is for the veteran’s minimum with $350K in guarantees, according to Justin Rogers of the Detroit News (on Twitter). So, even though there are guarantees, it’s not enough to suggest that the team is moving on from backup Jake Rudock. Rudock has a $630K salary with no guarantees, but they could conceivably roll with him over Cassel if he looks better this summer.
  • Bennie Logan‘s one-year deal with the Titans has $3.75MM guaranteed, Terez A. Paylor of the Kansas City Star tweets. As previously reported, Logan can earn up to $5MM through incentives.
  • Tackle Ben Ijalana‘s one-year deal with Jets is worth $2.5MM, Rich Cimini of ESPN tweets. The total guarantee is $500K, via his signing bonus. Ijalana does not project to start for the Jets, but the team clearly values him more than the average backup.

Titans To Sign WR Michael Campanaro

The Titans have agreed to terms on a one-year deal with free agent wide receiver Michael Campanaro, reports Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun (Twitter link).

Tennessee had been searching for a new slot receiver, as 2017 slot man Eric Decker is currently a free agent. The Titans also hosted Jordan Matthews before he signed with the Patriots, and while he and Campanaro are very different receivers, they’ve both spent most of their time inside. At present, Tennessee’s wideout depth chart is topped by Rishard Matthews and 2017 first-rounder Corey Davis, with Taywan TaylorTajae SharpeDarius Jennings, and Zach Pascal in reserve.

Campanaro, 27, had managed only 12 total receptions during his first three years in the league, but topped that total alone with the Ravens in 2017. Not only did Campanaro post 19 receptions for 173 yards, but he served as Baltimore’s primary punt returner, averaging 10.8 yards per return while adding one touchdown. The Titans, for their part, used first-round rookie Adoree’ Jackson as a punt returner last season, but it’s possible Campanaro could take over that role if Tennessee wants to give Jackson a breather.

The Titans hosted Campanaro on a visit last week and had reportedly been discussing a deal for weeks. Other clubs, including the incumbent Ravens, also expressed interest in Campanaro, but he never met with any team besides Tennessee.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Draft Rumors: Guice, Key, Ridley, Panthers

LSU running back Derrius Guice has changed representation, going from the firm that represents rap star Kendrick Lamar to one headed up by Lil Wayne, as Darren Heitner of Forbes Magazine writes. Guice is the latest draft prospect to join Young Money APAA Sports, which also represents Texas linebacker Malik Jefferson. Thanks to a buyout of another firm late last year, the agency also has NFL players Devin McCourty, Duron Harmon, Lane Johnson, Jason McCourty and Seth Roberts in its stable.

Here’s more NFL Draft news:

  • Speaking of LSU, pass rusher Arden Key will visit with the Titans on Tuesday, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. At No. 25 overall, the Titans could be in range for the athletic prospect.
  • Alabama wide receiver Calvin Ridley will visit with the Panthers on Wednesday after the team completes it’s trip to Washington D.C., according to Rapoport. Ridley recently met with the Cowboys and is widely projected to be a first round pick.
  • Iowa cornerback Josh Jackson has Top 30 visits with the Bills, Titans, and Buccaneers this week, Rapoport tweets.
  • Alabama defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick is visiting the 49ers this week, per Rapoport.
  • Memphis wide receiver Anthony Miller met with the Panthers on Monday, according to Rapoport.
  • Florida defensive tackle Taven Bryan, projected as a first-round pick, will have a dozen official visits to team facilities along with six individual workouts on campus, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com tweets. The Buccaneers hosted him on a visit last week, so he could stay in the Sunshine State. Bryan is the 24th best prospect in the draft, according to NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah.
  • The Lions have more pressing needs at running back, pass rusher, and on the interior offensive line, but they could consider safeties early in the draft. The Lions hosted Stanford’s Justin Reid on a top-30 visit last week, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press hears.

Minor NFL Transactions: 4/9/18

Here are today’s minor moves.

Detroit Lions

Indianapolis Colts

Kansas City Chiefs

Oakland Raiders

Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Signed: OL Joseph Cheek
  • Signed: OL Larson Graham
  • Signed: OL Parker Collins

Tennessee Titans

Washington Redskins

Contract Details: Meredith, Matthews, Smith

Here’s a look at the details of some recent free agent deals:

  • Cameron Meredith‘s two-year, $9.6MM Saints offer sheet can be worth up to $12.6MM, Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune reports. There are $5.4MM in total guarantees. The Bears have not determined if they will match or not.
  • Jordan Matthews‘ rough year with the Bills may have cost him. The former productive Eagles slot receiver signed with the Patriots for one year and $1MM, Albert Breer of SI.com tweets. While $700K is available via incentives, this is a team-friendly deal — one that only includes $170K guaranteed.
  • Bennie Logan‘s Titans deal is for one year and worth $4MM in base value, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Incentives can escalate Logan’s haul to $5MM.
  • The ChargersGeno Smith contract is worth $1MM over one year, Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com tweets. This comes with a $200K signing bonus.

Titans Sign DT Bennie Logan

The Titans have agreed to sign free agent defensive tackle Bennie Logan, the club announced today.

Tennessee has overhauled the interior of its defensive line this offseason, as the team cut ties with Sylvester Williams and Karl Klug while adding Logan. Additionally, the Titans met with star free agent Ndamukong Suh before he signed a one-year deal with the Rams. Logan will now join stalwart Jurrell Casey, DaQuan Jones, Austin Johnson, Antwaun Woods, and others along the Tennessee front three.

Logan, 28, drew plenty of free agent interest before landing with the Titans. Before taking a meeting with Tennessee last week, Logan also met with the Seahawks. The Redskins, meanwhile, were reportedly eyeing Logan but never set up an official visit.

Logan, a former third-round pick, spent four seasons with the Eagles before inking a one-year, $8MM deal with the Chiefs last spring. During his lone season in Kansas City, Logan appeared in 15 games as a run-stuffing defensive tackle, racking up 35 tackles and 1.5 sacks while playing 55% of the club’s defensive snaps. Pro Football Focus, however, graded Logan as just the No. 94 interior defender among 122 qualifiers a season ago.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Titans Strength And Conditioning Coach Retires

  • Steve Watterson is retiring from his post as the Titans‘ strength and conditioning coach — they announced in a release Friday — after 32 years with the team. Tom Kanavy, who has 22 years of experience in the NFL, will take over the position.

Eric Decker To Meet With Ravens

Wide receiver Eric Decker will visit with the Ravens on Thursday, a source tells Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). This marks Decker’s second visit of free agency, following his March meeting with the Raiders. 

Decker was a late surprise cut by the Jets last year, leading him to sign a one-year deal with the Titans. He fell a little flat in Tennessee, recording 54 catches for just 563 yards and one touchdown. Decker also missed most of 2016 due to injury, so the 31-year-old is now two years removed from performing as a high-end wide receiver.

In 2015, Decker’s last complete season, he hauled in 80 catches for 1,027 yards and 12 touchdowns for the Jets. He also had 1,000+ yard seasons in 2012 and 2013 with the Broncos and nearly hit that mark in his first Jets season in 2014.

The Ravens have revamped their WR group this offseason by allowing Mike Wallace to leave in free agency and adding Michael Crabtree and John Brown. On the surface, that wouldn’t leave a ton of targets for Decker, but he would be in for a more prominent role if Brown cannot stay healthy.

Recently, Decker expressed interest in a return to Denver, but it’s not clear if the interest is mutual.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.