Titans Rumors

This Date In Transactions History: Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins Agree To Extension

The Dolphins are currently navigating a quarterback extension, as the front office is working with Tua Tagovailoa on a lucrative second contract. Almost a decade ago, the team found themselves in a very similar situation.

On this date in 2015, the Dolphins signed quarterback Ryan Tannehill to an extension. The six-year, $96MM extension included $45MM guaranteed, and it was intended to cover the last year of the quarterback’s rookie deal, the fifth-year option season, and four additional free agent years.

At the time, it was hard to be overly critical of Miami’s long-term commitment to the former first-round pick. Tannehill topped 3,000 passing yards in each of his first three seasons in the NFL, and he improved on his touchdown totals in each of his campaigns (culminating in a 2014 season where he tossed 27 scores). While the Dolphins had yet to break through with a postseason run, the team’s worst showing through Tannehill’s first three seasons was a 7-9 mark during his rookie campaign.

There was some urgency on the Dolphins’ part to complete a deal. Tannehill was one of four QBs from the 2012 draft class (along with Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, and Russell Wilson) to be eyeing lucrative extensions, and Miami assured they wouldn’t be boxed into a corner by completing the first deal from that group. Luck ended up getting $140MM from the Colts while Wilson got around $88MM on a four-year deal with the Seahawks (Griffin never got a second contract from Washington). When compared to his draftmates, Tannehill’s average annual value didn’t break the bank.

Of course, the move didn’t come without risk. This was the first major move by Mike Tannenbaum, the Dolphins’ new executive vice president of football operations. It was Tannenbaum’s decision to hand Mark Sanchez a sizable extension in New York that ultimately led to the executive’s ouster. Tannenbaum wasn’t looking to make the same mistake twice.

“We are thrilled that we were able to sign Ryan to an extension,” Tannenbaum said at the time (via the Miami Herald). “He is an ascending talent, a team leader and checks all of the boxes you are looking for at the position.”

While the Dolphins dropped to 6-10 during Tannehill’s first year playing on the extension, the QB continued to validate the organization’s decision. The fourth-year player tossed a career-high 4,045 passing yards that season, making him the fourth QB in NFL history to top 3,000 passing yards in each of his first four seasons. The Dolphins took a step forward during Tannehill’s fifth season at the helm, with the team finally earning a playoff nod. However, after going 8-5 through the first 13 games, Tannehill suffered a season-ending knee injury that knocked him out for the postseason.

That injury ended up greatly altering Tannehill’s ability to finish his contract with Miami. The quarterback opted for rehab over surgery to his injured ACL, allowing him to be on the field for the start of 2017 training camp. However, he suffered another injury during the first day of 11-on-11 drills, and he eventually went under the knife to repair the torn ACL.

That following offseason, the Dolphins faced a major cap crunch. While Tannenbaum could have moved on from Tannehill (via release or trade) without any financial penalty, the executive instead reworked the player’s contract. That move temporarily opened up some breathing room under the cap, but it also kicked some sizable guaranteed money down the road. That decision ended up greatly reducing the organization’s return for the QB a year later.

Tannehill returned in time for the 2018 campaign but was forced to miss a chunk of games due to a shoulder injury. After the Dolphins were forced to rely on their QB2 for three-straight seasons, the team finally decided to cut bait on their franchise signal caller. During the 2019 offseason, the Dolphins traded Tannehill to the Titans for draft compensation. The QB agreed to rip up his contract with Tennessee, locking him into a one-year prove-it deal for the 2019 campaign.

Tannehill bounced back in a big way that season, earning his first career Pro Bowl nod while guiding the Titans to a 7-3 regular season record and a pair of postseason victories. That performance earned him a new contract from the Titans, a four-year, $118MM pact. Tannehill continued to guide a playoff squad in Tennessee for the 2020 and 2021 seasons, but he had an inconsistent role in 2022 and 2023 following the additions of Malik Willis and Will Levis. The 35-year-old is currently a free agent.

Nine years after signing the extension, things couldn’t have worked out much better for Tannehill. Of course, that doesn’t mean the quarterback didn’t take a handful of risks. For starters, much of his future guaranteed money was only due if Tannehill played, meaning he could have been cut at any time without any penalty (an advantage that the Dolphins squandered following that aforementioned restructuring). Tannehill also could have played hard ball with the Titans with the hope of getting cut, but he ultimately fave up some significant future money as he looked to rehabilitate his image. That gamble immediately worked out for the QB, as the Titans signed him to his third contract.

While the Dolphins never reached the success they were surely envisioning when they extended Tannehill, the team at least waved the white flag at the right time. Following a bridge season with Ryan Fitzpatrick under center, the team quickly found their future answer at QB in Tagovailoa. Of course, that glass-half-full perspective wasn’t enough to save Tannenbaum’s job. The executive was reassigned from his role in 2018, and while it was the Dolphins’ entire body of work that led to his demotion/firing, the Tannehill restructuring in 2018 certainly didn’t help.

As the Dolphins look to sign Tagovailoa to a second contract, the top decision makers will surely proceed with caution after seeing how things unfolded with their last major QB investment.

AFC South Notes: Colts, Nabers, Texans, Jags

The Colts‘ wide receiver room includes two starters acquired before Shane Steichen‘s arrival — Michael Pittman Jr., Alec Pierce — and the team made a three-year, $70MM commitment to its No. 1 target in March. Steichen is starting to put his stamp on the WR room, however, with the Colts having drafted Josh Downs in last year’s third round and Adonai Mitchell in this year’s second. As Chris Ballard continues to run Indianapolis’ draft, ESPN.com’s Stephen Holder notes Steichen “strongly advocated” for Mitchell in the second round.

Mitchell is unlikely to stroll into a starting spot early, as Holder adds the Texas product will be expected to begin training camp as the top backup behind Pittman, Pierce and Downs. But the ex-Longhorns standout’s draft slot (No. 52) suggests he will be heard from early in his career. The Colts have seen mixed results from their second-round WRs under Ballard, with Pittman shining and Parris Campbell struggling to stay on the field. Pierce (No. 53 overall in 2022) has eclipsed 500 receiving yards in each of his first two seasons. A Georgia transfer, Mitchell blazed to a 4.34-second 40-yard dash at the Combine. Although he only topped 450 receiving yards in one college season (2023, with 845 and 11 touchdowns), plenty will be expected from a Colts team that has struggled with receiver depth for most of Ballard’s GM tenure.

Here is the latest from the AFC South:

  • Staying on the WR topic, the Titans had a contingency plan in the event one of the teams above them at No. 7 zagged. The Giants were seemingly down to QB or WR at No. 6 throughout the pre-draft process, but a post-draft report suggested they were also eyeing Joe Alt. The Chargers were both connected to Alt and JC Latham at No. 5. In a scenario in which targets Latham and Alt were off the board, ESPN.com’s Jeremy Fowler notes Malik Nabers would have been the Tennessee pick at 7. A Nabers choice would have left the OL-needy Titans less equipped up front, and Latham filled a bigger need. The team has since signed Tyler Boyd to team with outside targets DeAndre Hopkins and Calvin Ridley.
  • The Colts are changing some of their rookies’ positions ahead of their first NFL offseason programs. Ballard said fifth-round pick Jaylon Carlies will move from safety to linebacker, with the Indianapolis Star’s Joel Erickson indicating fifth-round safety Jaylin Simpson is sliding from safety to cornerback. Simpson has CB experience but moved to safety while at Auburn. Before Day 3 investments, the Colts did not address the cornerback position beyond Kenny Moore‘s re-signing. This leaves some uncertainty here — particularly on the outside.
  • Third-round Colts draftee Matt Goncalves spent his college career at left and right tackle, but ProFootballNetwork.com’s Adam Caplan notes the rookie will be given time at guard this offseason. The Day 2 pick will compete for a backup job as a rookie, per Holder, as it appears Indy is planning to keep its low-cost starters (Bernhard Raimann, Will Fries) in place alongside veterans Quenton Nelson, Ryan Kelly and Braden Smith.
  • The Texans will make an adjustment at a key front office post. The team did not renew director of pro personnel Ronnie McGill‘s contract, KPRC2’s Aaron Wilson notes. McGill followed GM Nick Caserio from New England in 2021; the Texans had promoted him to the director post in 2022. Teams regularly make scouting adjustments post-draft, and a notable Texans hire will be on tap.
  • A scouting veteran of more than 30 years, Tom McConnaughey is retiring from his Jaguars post. The veteran staffer, who has been with the Jags since 2021, will leave after three years as a national scout with the team, InsidetheLeague.com’s Neil Stratton tweets. McConnaughey spent 26 years with the Chargers prior to moving to Jacksonville.
  • In addition to hiring A.J. Highsmith and Keenan Agnew, the Titans are adding Sam Summerville to their scouting staff. Summerville is expected to join the team as a national scout, per Stratton. The Bears recently parted ways with Summerville, a former Fritz Pollard Alliance scout of the year honoree, after 12 years.

Titans Add A.J. Highsmith, Keenan Agnew To Front Office; Team Interviewed Josh Scobey

May regularly brings change in teams’ scouting departments, as staffs are often kept intact ahead of the draft for continuity purposes. The Titans are one of the teams making changes shortly after the draft.

Second-year Titans GM Ran Carthon is hiring A.J. Highsmith as the team’s scouting director, according to InsidetheLeague.com’s Neil Stratton. This will mark a reunion for the two second-generation NFLers. Carthon and Highsmith worked together with the 49ers during the late 2010s.

The son of NFL personnel vet Alonzo Highsmith, A.J. spent the past five years with the Bills and finished that tenure as a national scout. A defensive back at Miami from 2009-13, A.J. Highsmith worked his way up from an area scouting post in Buffalo. Alonzo also reentered the NFL this offseason, moving back from a role with the Hurricanes to work under Eliot Wolf in the reshaped New England front office. A.J. Highsmith will hold both pro and college scouting duties in Tennessee, Stratton adds.

Staying on the subject of veteran execs’ sons, Keenan Agnew is also joining Carthon in Tennessee. The son of Lions assistant GM Ray Agnew, Keenan is coming aboard as a scouting assistant, Stratton adds. Keenan will become the second of Ray Agnew’s sons to land in an NFL front office; Ray Agnew III is part of Joe Douglas‘ Jets scouting staff.

The Titans have also spent some time with other candidates to join their scouting department. Josh Scobey, who separated from the Cardinals after 12 years recently, interviewed for a Titans position, according to veteran Titans reporter Paul Kuharsky. Scobey, a former NFL running back, finished his Arizona tenure as the team’s college scouting director. Scobey’s separation from the Cardinals comes in ex-Titans exec Monti Ossenfort‘s second offseason as GM.

Also part of the recent Titans interviews: Eagles pro scouting director Max Gruder, per Kuharsky. The Eagles promoted Gruder during the 2022 offseason. The Titans had most recently employed Jon Salge as their college scouting director and Brian Gardner as their pro scouting director. While it is unclear where that duo will stand going forward, Carthon’s second offseason in charge is bringing some changes beyond the coaching staff.

Minor NFL Transactions: 5/13/24

Today’s minor moves:

Atlanta Falcons

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

  • Claimed off waivers (from 49ers): DL Spencer Waege
  • Placed on reserve/retired list: OL Trente Jones

Kansas City Chiefs

Los Angeles Chargers

  • Signed: DL Chris Collins

Miami Dolphins

  • Signed: OL Ireland Brown, CB Jason Maitre

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

  • Signed: RB Terrell Jennings, G Ryan Johnson, LB Jay Person, DE Jotham Russell
  • Waived: RB Ke’Shawn Vaughn

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

  • Signed: DL Elijah Chatman
  • Waived: OLB Jeremiah Martin

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Waived: OL Kellen Diesch

San Francisco 49ers

  • Signed: DL Shakel Brown

Seattle Seahawks

  • Signed: DE Nathan Pickering, LB Devin Richardson

Tennessee Titans

NFL Workouts: Giants, Bears, Titans, Grant

With NFL rookie minicamps coming to a close, we can take a look at some of the notable names that were invited for veteran tryouts during the rookies’ introduction to the NFL. The Giants were one of the teams with multiple veteran free agents in attendance, as noted by Pat Leonard of NY Daily News.

Two outside linebackers were auditioned this week in New York. Myjai Sanders worked out with the team after playing sparingly in seven games for the Texans last year. A former third-round pick for the Cardinals, Sanders had three sacks as a rookie but, after falling down the depth chart, found himself being auctioned off as a trade candidate before ultimately getting waived.

The other was Shaka Toney, a former seventh-round pick for the Commanders who was waived just before the draft. He’s only played major snaps in one game over his two years, his lone start out of 26 games played, but totes 1.5 sacks on his record.

The third veteran in attendance was wide receiver Jared Bernhardt.

Here are a few other notable minicamp auditions that took place around the league:

  • The Bears also hosted three veterans, even eventually signing tight end Tommy Sweeney. Kevin Fishbain of The Athletic reports that cornerback Parry Nickerson and wide receiver Freddie Swain were the other two veterans in attendance this week. Nickerson entered the league as a sixth-round draft pick in 2018 for the Jets. Since then, he’s bounced around with one season each at in Jacksonville, Green Bay, Minnesota, and, most recently, Miami. Swain had a decent start to his career after two seasons in Seattle but didn’t play in 2023 after appearing in only four games in 2022 between time in Miami and Denver.
  • The Titans were another team to host multiple notable veteran names, namely cornerback William Jackson III and pass rusher Shane Ray, per Aaron Wilson of KPRC 2 and Turron Davenport of ESPN. After playing out a rookie contract in Cincinnati, Jackson earned a three-year, $40.5MM contract with the Commanders but requested a trade that landed him with the Steelers a year in a half into the deal, though he never got to play for them. He hasn’t appeared in a game since Week 5 of 2022. Ray’s absence from the NFL has been even longer. A first-round pick for the Broncos in 2015, Ray hasn’t played in the league since 2018. He joined the Bills last offseason, reuniting with his former Denver teammate Von Miller, but he was cut before the regular season.
  • After attending the Eagles’ rookie minicamp, wide receiver and return specialist Jakeem Grant also worked out for the Saints at their rookie minicamp, per Mike Triplett of NewOrleans.Football. Grant hasn’t appeared in an NFL game since the 2021 season as he’s rehabilitated a torn Achilles and a ruptured patella tendon, but the last time he played, he earned Pro Bowl and second-team All-Pro honors.
  • Lastly, the Dolphins hosted pass rusher Aaron Lynch for a tryout, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. Lynch showed promise after tallying 12.5 sacks in his first two seasons with the 49ers but never managed more than three in a season over the next five years. He hasn’t appeared in an NFL game since 2020.

Titans Interested In S Addition

Tennessee was one of several teams engaged in the post-draft receiver market. That ultimately produced an agreement with Tyler Boyd, but the Titans are still looking into additions elsewhere on the roster.

When speaking to the media, head coach Brian Callahan said (via Jim Wyatt of the team’s website) Tennessee is engaged in conversations about bringing in a safety. The team traded away former All-Pro Kevin Byard midway through the 2023 season, creating a notable vacancy in the secondary. Terrell Edmunds was part of the return in the Byard swap, but he remains unsigned well after the draft.

Tennessee also saw K’Von Wallace – who started seven games for the team last year – sign with Seattle in free agency. Amani Hooker remains in place as a full-time starter after he inked a three-year extension in September 2022. Elijah Molden logged nearly 200 snaps in the slot last season, but his primary usage came as a safety. The pending free agent is joined by the likes of L’Jarius Sneed, Roger McCreary and Chidobe Awuzie in the Titans’ secondary.

The team could use at least a depth addition at the safety spot, though. The likes of Matthew Jackson and Syheim Carter are in place after they were used on special teams during their respective rookie seasons. Tennessee invested a Day 3 pick (seventh-rounder James Williams) in the backend during this year’s draft, but a third phase role should be the expectation in his case as well.

Much like their running back counterparts in recent years, veteran safeties around the league saw their market take a nosedive this offseason. Several accomplished (albeit aging) producers were let go or not retained, and a number of them are still unsigned at this point. Longtime Broncos ballhawk Justin Simmons headlines the group of available options. Marcus MayeMicah Hyde and former Seahawks Jamal Adams and Quandre Diggs are other potential targets for the Titans and other teams seeking a late-offseason addition.

Tennessee is near the top of the league in terms of cap space with over $30MM in available funds. Signing the rest of the team’s rookie class will lower that figure slightly, but plenty of room will remain to make at least one notable addition. Given the state of the safety market, any signing will likely not come with a hefty price tag, so it will be interesting to see if a deal with one of the top options is worked out in the near future.

Titans Sign 16 Undrafted Free Agents

The Titans have a seven-man draft class, some of whom have already inked their rookie deals. Their draftees will be joined in minicamp by the following UDFAs:

  • Brian Dooley, OL (Eastern Michigan)
  • Khalid Duke, DE (Kansas State)
  • Keaton Ellis, S (Penn State)
  • X’Zauvea Gadlin, OL (Liberty)
  • Rod Gattison, CB (Western Carolina)
  • Isaiah Iton, DT (Rutgers)
  • Robert Javier, DB (Towson)
  • Dillon Johnson, RB (Washington)
  • Gabe Jeudy-Lally, TE (Tennessee)
  • Brayden Narveson, K (NC State)
  • Bryce Oliver, WR (Youngstown State)
  • David Martin-Robinson, TE (Temple)
  • Sam Schnee, WR (Northern Iowa)
  • Jamari Small, RB (Tennessee)
  • Cole Spencer, OL (Texas Tech)
  • Steven Stilianos, TE (Iowa)

Spencer is one of three O-linemen the Titans have brought in, and he has received a notable financial investment. Tennessee has given him $75K in guaranteed money, Aaron Wilson of KPRC2 reports. Spencer spent considerable time at left tackle when he was at Western Kentucky, but he moved to guard with the Red Raiders. A leg injury limited him to just six games in 2023, but he will look to parlay a return to health into at least a practice squad spot.

The Titans were among the teams to move quickly on the running back front in free agency, signing Tony Pollard as part of a depth chart already featuring Tyjae Spears. Both Johnson and Small will look to join them in a rotational capacity. The former led the Pac-12 in rushing touchdowns last season (16), helping him earn second-team All-Conference honors. The latter, meanwhile, led the Volunteers in rushing during the 2021 season and ranks 12th in school history with 24 career rushing touchdowns.

Veteran Nick Folk was the Titans’ lone kicker on the roster prior to the addition of Narveson. Folk, 39, led the NFL in field goal percentage (96.7%) in his debut Tennessee campaign and he is under contract for one more year. Narveson will look to provide competition during training camp or at least insurance by taking up a taxi squad slot. After spending time at Iowa State and Western Kentucky, he went 18-for-23 on field goal attempts in 2023.

Ben Levine contributed to this post.

Titans Sign Round 1 T JC Latham

Closely linked to being Joe Alt‘s floor at No. 7, the Titans ended up being the second team to draft a tackle from this impressive class. After the Chargers chose Alt at No. 5, the Titans came away with JC Latham.

The Alabama product, who received some late buzz to the point he was in viewed as a possible candidate to go to the Chargers, is now under contract with Tennessee. The Titans completed the signing process with Latham, who is under contract through 2027 (feat. a fifth-year option). The deal is fully guaranteed.

Titans-Latham buzz developed just before the draft, and this marks the second straight year the Titans chose an offensive lineman in the first round. Latham will join Peter Skoronski on an O-line GM Ran Carthon has gone about remaking. Moving on from longtime starters Taylor Lewan, Ben Jones and Nate Davis in his first offseason as GM, Carthon has since added an anchor piece. Latham is expected to line up at left tackle.

Multiple teams viewed Latham as a player who could become an All-Pro right tackle, ProFootballNetwork.com’s Adam Caplan notes. One of a few premier college RTs who wound up first-round picks, Latham started the past two seasons for the Crimson Tide at that spot. The strong run blocker earned second-team All-America acclaim last season, becoming one of the top players in this year’s draft class.

The Titans cleared a path for Latham at LT, cutting disappointing 2023 free agent signing Andre Dillard. The team briefly tried RT starter Nicholas Petit-Frere on the blind side, but an injury — following his reinstatement from a gambling suspension — nixed that plan. Jaelyn Duncan spent much of the season’s second half at left tackle.

This year’s first round included nine tackles — if Duke tackle-turned-Buccaneers center Graham Barton is included; the Titans made Latham the second one chosen. Had Alt been available, Caplan adds the Notre Dame All-American likely would have been the choice. But it will be Latham on track to join Skoronski and Co. along the Titans’ offensive front. The young blockers will step into an intriguing situation, with highly regarded O-line coach Bill Callahan following son Brian to Nashville.

NFL Draft Pick Signings: 5/9/24

As a number of teams prepare for rookie minicamps this weekend, Thursday has represented a signing day of sorts for rookie draftees. Here is the latest batch of mid- and late-rounders to sign their four-year rookie deals:

Arizona Cardinals

Buffalo Bills

  • T Travis Clayton (seventh round, England)

Denver Broncos

Houston Texans

Las Vegas Raiders

New Orleans Saints

  • QB Spencer Rattler (fifth round, South Carolina)
  • WR Bub Means (fifth round, Pittsburgh)
  • LB Jaylan Ford (fifth round, Texas)
  • DT Khristian Boyd (sixth round, Northern Iowa)
  • T Josiah Ezirim (seventh round, Eastern Kentucky)

New York Giants

Tennessee Titans

Titans, WR Tyler Boyd Agree To Deal

Tyler Boyd‘s free agency is set to come to an end. The veteran wideout has agreed to a one-year deal with the Titans, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reports.

This agreement has a maximum value of $4.5MM, Fowler adds. Boyd is the latest receiver to find a new home in the post-draft wave of free agency, after the likes of Michael GallupDJ Chark and Odell Beckham Jrsigned deals of their own last week. This agreement will allow Boyd to continue working with Brian Callahan.

The latter worked alongside Boyd during his time as the Bengals’ offensive coordinator before taking on Tennessee’s head coaching gig this offseason. His debut season at the helm of the Titans will include a familiar face operating in the slot. Boyd – who included the Titans on his list of free agent visits – had spent his entire eight-year career in Cincinnati prior to today’s news.

With Tee Higgins in need of the franchise tag (and/or a long-term extension) and Ja’Marr Chase set to receive one of the league’s most lucrative receiver deals in the near future, though, signs have long pointed to Boyd heading elsewhere this offseason. The 29-year-old was reported to have a mutual interest in a deal sending him to his hometown Steelers, but the sides could not find common ground on contract terms. That left him free to pursue deals with other teams, and a number of potential suitors emerged.

Tennessee already made a massive investment at the receiver position this offseason, prying Calvin Ridley away from the Jaguars and Patriots. The former first-rounder landed a four-year, $92MM featuring almost $47MM guaranteed at signing. The Ridley addition, in turn, came just one year after the Titans added DeAndre Hopkins; the latter is under contract for one more season. The team also has 2022 first-rounder Treylon Burks in the fold, but Boyd will look to compete for a starting role.

The former second-rounder topped 800 yards each season between 2018-21, twice eclipsing the 1,000-yard mark during that span. With Chase and Higgins taking on a major share in the Bengals’ passing game, though, Boyd has seen his usage and production decline in recent years. In 2023, he posted 667 yards, the second-lowest total of his career in a full season. The low cost of this Titans deal illustrates how his market was viewed around the league.

A strong season from Boyd will help his chances of landing a more lucrative accord next offseason, but for now he will turn his attention to serving as a dependable complementary option for quarterback Will Levis. Tennessee also hosted wideout Zay Jones yesterday, but this Boyd deal will likely take them out of the running for further free agent additions.