Titans Rumors

Patriots Shopped Gronk To Four Teams

The Patriots deny having shopped Rob Gronkowski this offseason, but evidence to the contrary is mounting. The Pats engaged in trade talks with the Lions, Titans, Texans, and 49ers, Albert Breer of The MMQB told FS1 (transcription via NESN). 

[RELATED: Will 2018 Be Shaq Mason’s Last Year With Pats?]

Recently, we learned the Patriots were discussing deals involving Gronk as recently as three days before the draft. Meanwhile, Mike Florio of PFT hears from a league source that the Patriots had conversations with more clubs than the four listed by Breer. However, a deal was never close enough for the Pats to talk to the tight end about the possibility. When Gronk put the retirement rumors to rest in April, it seems that the trade discussions were also 86’d.

Breer hears that the Patriots only discussed a potential Gronkowski trade with teams they “trust.” The tentacles of the Patriots extend to all four teams: Lions GM Bob Quinn and head coach Matt Patricia used to work for the Pats, Texans head coach Bill O’Brien previously served as the Pats’ offensive coordinator, Titans head coach Mike Vrabel played for the Pats and GM Jon Robinson spent more than ten years in New England, and Bill Belichick has a solid relationship with 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan.

For now, it seems like Gronk is staying put, but the Patriots weren’t entirely truthful when they threw water on the latest round of trade rumors. The two sides will likely hammer out a revised contract between now and the start of the season, but it’s still a situation worth monitoring.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Harold Landry, Titans CBs Impressing

  • Jim Wyatt of TitansOnline.com says Harold Landry, the Titans‘ second-round draft choice this year, is living up to his draft pedigree and that, while he may have a hard time unseating veterans Derrick Morgan and Brian Orakpo as a starting OLB, he should see plenty of action as a situational pass rusher to begin his career. Wyatt also says Tennessee’s cornerbacks have been the most impressive position group of the spring.

Examining Key 2018 Holdouts

The 2014 first round produced some of the NFL’s best players, and they comprise part of an extensive group of that skipped minicamp and could well be training camp holdouts. But several other standout players didn’t show for their respective teams’ mandatory workouts either. Here’s a look on where things stand with this absent contingent.

Aaron Donald, Los Angeles Rams: The reigning defensive player of the year is holding out for a second straight summer. He skipped the Rams’ minicamp, as expected, and remains focused on a landscape-changing deal. Both Donald and Khalil Mack are in line to eclipse Von Miller‘s $19MM annual salary, but the California-based franchises may be hesitant to be the first to authorize a $20MM-per-year pact for a defender. However, Les Snead‘s already conceded the Rams will have to finalize a Donald deal that makes him the league’s highest-paid defender. But with the Broncos superstar having signed his extension in a $155MM cap year, it’s likely Donald’s camp — particularly on the heels of a season where the all-world interior defender won DPOY honors after his holdout induced a two-game absence — is targeting a figure well north of Miller’s, with the cap now at $177.2MM.

The Rams see this process unfolding in a less contentious fashion this year, but a Donald deal — one that’s putting other priorities on hold — isn’t imminent.

David Johnson, Arizona Cardinals: Unlike Le’Veon Bell and the Steelers, this process features no immediate deadline. But Johnson’s contract expires after this season, with no fifth-year option available to the franchise. Johnson and the Cards are engaging in extension discussions, and Steve Keim said this week — as his All-Pro back skipped minicamp — the team looks forward to signing Johnson long-term.

This has not proven to be an acrimonious situation, but Johnson is on a slightly different timetable than Bell. Despite being a fourth-year player compared to Pittsburgh’s All-Pro entering his sixth season, Johnson is a few months older than Bell and will turn 27 in December. However, it may be in his best interests to wait and see what happens with Bell by the July 16 franchise tag extension deadline.

Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons: The NFL’s seen its wide receiver salary landscape shift since Jones signed his extension in August 2015. That contract made Jones the NFL’s highest-paid wideout, but seven receivers have since surpassed him. This includes Sammy Watkins and slot target Jarvis Landry, who respectively signed 2018 deals for $16MM and $15.1MM annually. Atlanta’s top weapon wants a revised contract and skipped OTAs and minicamp, and the Falcons are discussing such an amendment.

Jones has three seasons and minimal guarantees remaining on his deal, which averages $14.25MM per year. The team’s response a Jones camp proposal did not meet with the group’s approval, but the sides continue to negotiate. The 29-year-old pass-catcher said recently he has no intentions of forcing his way out of Atlanta.

Taylor Lewan, Tennessee Titans: The left tackle is part of the 2014 first-round contingent entering fifth-year option seasons, and he joined some of the group’s higher-profile players in skipping mandatory June workouts. Jon Robinson said upon being informed of Lewan’s impending minicamp absence that the parties are participating in ongoing re-up dialogue, but as recently as late May, no reports indicated this was the case.

A two-time Pro Bowler, Lewan is entering his age-27 season and is now shooting for Nate Solder‘s $15.5MM-AAV standard. That’s $2MM-plus more than any other left tackle makes, and the Giants authorized that contract amid free agency circumstances. This will complicate matters for Lewan and other extension-seeking tackles. Lewan’s option season is set to be worth $9.341MM.

Khalil Mack, Oakland Raiders: After not joining Donald in a 2017 holdout, despite being in essentially the same situation, Mack is doing so this year. He has not reported to the Raiders this offseason. The 2016 defensive player of the year saw 2014 draftee teammates Derek Carr and Gabe Jackson sign lucrative extensions, only to see the Raiders put his on hold — mirroring other teams’ processes with ’14 first-rounders — because of the franchise-friendly fifth-year option. Reggie McKenzie‘s maintained the franchise intends to extend Mack in 2018 and said other players’ situations aren’t factoring into these discussions. Though, it’d be hard to believe Donald’s process isn’t impacting Mack’s at all.

The Raiders and Mack weren’t close on terms in April, but both Carr and Jackson signed their extensions in June of last year, perhaps pointing to a near-future resolution. Unlike the Rams, however, the Raiders have a top-tier quarterback salary on their books. That could cause issues elsewhere on the roster. Although, the cap’s perpetual rise negates some of those potential problems.

Earl Thomas, Seattle Seahawks: Perhaps the most interesting of these situations, the Seahawks have dangled Thomas in trades but expect him to report for training camp. Like Jones, Thomas saw several at his position usurp him in the salary hierarchy since signing an extension. Thomas signed a $10MM-AAV contract to make him the highest-paid safety in 2014. Again in a contract year, he’s threatened a holdout for months and is following through. The Cowboys and Seahawks discussed a draft-weekend deal for the three-time All-Pro. While Dallas balked about sending a second-round pick for the 29-year-old defender, the teams may well revisit these talks.

Either way, Thomas is going to want Eric Berry money ($13MM AAV) on his third contract. With Richard Sherman in San Francisco and Kam Chancellor‘s career in doubt, Thomas is the last remaining member of the Legion of Boom. It’s just uncertain if he’ll finish out his second contract in Seattle or be shipped elsewhere and end that dominant era.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 6/15/18

Today’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Denver Broncos

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Titans Sign Rookie DE Harold Landry

The Titans have signed second-round defensive end Harold Landry, a source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). The former Boston College standout will earn roughly $6.7MM over the course of his four-year deal, in accordance with his slot at No. 41 overall. The deal includes a signing bonus worth nearly $3MM.

Landry, a 6’3″, 250-pound athlete, was an absolute monster at Boston College. He broke out in his junior season as he tallied 22 tackles for a loss and 16.5 sacks in 2016. Last year, he missed some games due to injury, but still managed 8.5 tackles for a loss and five sacks.

The defensive end should have an opportunity to contribute immediately for the Titans. Landry could eventually replace DaQuan Jones in the starting lineup, and he should have the edge over David King and Julius Warmsley for backup reps.

With the signing of Landry, the Titans have officially wrapped up their entire 2018 draft class. Here’s the full rundown of their four-man group:

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 6/14/18

Today’s minor moves:

Cleveland Browns

Detroit Lions

Indianapolis Colts

Tennessee Titans

Taylor Lewan Skipping Titans’ Minicamp

The Titans’ mandatory minicamp is underway, but Taylor Lewan is not on the practice field. The offensive tackle is staying away from the team as he pushes for a new contract. 

As we start the mandatory veteran minicamp, we were informed by the representatives for Taylor Lewan that he would not be attending the camp,” GM Jon Robinson said in a statement. “We have had several constructive conversations over the last 5-6 weeks about his contract status. He is currently under contract, and we are working to keep Taylor as part of this organization for a long time.

Lewan previously indicated that he would not hold out this summer, but his plans have clearly changed. Lewan may be looking for a deal that puts him near top of the heap for all left tackles, and he specifically referenced Nate Solder‘s new contract when discussing his own situation in late May.

“I’m a professional athlete. Obviously you’re going to see those things,” Lewan said in reference to lucrative deals for other offensive tackles. “I see Nate Solder getting the contract he did. That’s awesome.”

Lewan, the former No. 11 overall pick in the 2014 draft, will earn $9.341MM in 2018. He graded out as the seventh-best tackle in the NFL in 2016 and placed 16th last year, according to Pro Football Focus.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Ethan Wolf "Long Shot" To Make Titans Roster

  • Rookie tight end Ethan Wolf is a “long shot” to make the Titans roster, according to Jim Wyatt of Titansonline.com. Wyatt thinks he’ll end up on the outside looking in due to the Titans’ full tight end depth-chart, but that he’s a potential practice squad candidate.

Marcus Mariota Did Not Need Knee Procedure; Latest On QB Situation

  • Despite some concerns that Titans QB Marcus Mariota could require a clean-up procedure on his knee this offseason, Jim Wyatt of TitansOnline.com says Mariota never had such a procedure and that he has looked like his usual self in spring practices thus far. Wyatt adds that, while Blaine Gabbert appears to be entrenched as Mariota’s backup going into the 2018 season, the team is more likely to keep Luke Falk as the No. 3 QB rather than risk sneaking him onto the practice squad.

Kevin Dodd Skipping OTAs, On Roster Bubble

It’s a crucial offseason for Titans linebacker Kevin Dodd. Despite being the first pick of the second round back in 2016, his early draft status doesn’t assure him of anything due to his lack of production his first two years in the league. Dodd is apparently skipping voluntary OTAs, and will find himself squarely on the roster bubble heading into the 2018 season writes Jim Wyatt of Titansonline.com, who says “he’s going to have to earn his spot on the team.”

Titans coach Mike Vrabel has repeatedly deflected when asked about Dodd, and as Wyatt points out, the Titans have a lot of bodies at outside linebacker. The team recently drafted Harold Landry in the second round, a sign that their patience with Dodd is wearing thin. If he doesn’t turn it around soon, Dodd might not be on the team that spent the 33rd overall pick on him just two years ago much longer.