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Tuesday Mailbag: Jim Wyatt Answers Questions From Titans Fans As the 2023 Season Comes to an End


NASHVILLE – The 2023 season is now in the rear-view mirror.

An offseason full of uncertainty for the Tennessee Titans is now under way.

I've heard from plenty of fans after the team's 28-20 win over the Jaguars, a game running back Derrick Henry and quarterback Ryan Tannehill approached as if was their final game with the franchise.

A lot remains to be seen around here, except for the fact this Tuesday's mailbag is here right now …

Here's the link to submit questions: CLICK HERE.

Josh Bomar from Knoxville, Tennessee
Question: Good morning, Jim. Man, I didn't think I would be this emotional this morning; a mix of emotions really. I was reminded Sunday why I love this team. I'm disappointed that we couldn't come out and play with that passion every game this year, but when this team is fired up and focused they can beat anyone. I saw a lot of social media posts saying we needed to lose to get a better draft pick. No way. Jim, would you rather have a higher draft pick, or win to keep from being swept in the division and more importantly, keeping the team out of the playoffs that kept you out last year? Man, that eye for an eye was awesome to see. It was also awesome to see Derrick give a shout out to you and how much he appreciates you, as we all do. I got a little teary-eyed watching him essentially say goodbye on the field after the game, thanking everyone for his 8 years here. I think my favorite part of Sunday, though, was seeing Tannehill and the King together one last time, playing their hearts out, giving us fans that feeling we had in better days gone by. Thank you Ryan and Derrick for the memories. Two guys who will be in the Ring of Honor and part of this organization long after their playing days are over. It's the end of an era, Jim. As someone coined, "It's been real, and it's been fun, but it hasn't been real fun." Until next season! Josh, from Knoxville, signing off.

Jim: Well said, Josh. It was a memorable day for sure. And, it's been cool to see so many fans share their appreciation for both players, who've always busted it for this franchise. Derrick has always been a class act, same for Ryan. We'll see what happens down the road, but if that was truly it, they went out in style.

TJ Sonafrank from Seagrove, North Carolina
Question: Hey Jim. I'm sure I'm not alone when I say this: It was nice to see us knock out the Jags from the playoffs and from the division title. Especially since they had all the hype at the beginning of the year concerning their division title chances and playoff potential.
I don't really have a question, but more or less a recap of the year and what would be nice to see preparing for next year. Besides the obvious of the offensive line and their struggles what really stood out to me this year came from the defense. Before stating the negative observation I will say I believe our defense has the potential to be one of the best in the league. I feel Al-Shaair was a great pick up this season and hope to see him in a Titan uniform next year. What frustrated me the most this year were all the 3rd down stops we made that were converted to an offensive 1st down due to penalty. It got to the point where it was almost expected on any 3rd down we would get a penalty.
Moving forward I believe we need to focus on the line of course, add skill set in the receiver position to compliment Hopkins, and continue to work with Spears so we have a duel threat option to pair with Henry if he may return. If you look at the successful teams in the league, they all have explosive offenses that can easily score 20+ points in a game. Excited to see what occurs in the off season! Titan up!

Jim: Thanks for weighing in, TJ.

Bud Stein from Jacksonville, Florida
Question: Top of the morning Jim
Thanks for all your work this year and during the off season
That said It was kinda my season sunday but bittersweet a win knocked the jags out yet maybe the end for Derrick as a Titan even for Tannehill I felt bad as i was down on him and Now the rumbling of Mike Vrabel I know the standard answer to this question is always a chance but what's your honest gut feel to this. Do you think Derrick remain a Titan if he wishes A restructured contract or such? And what's your gut Feel on Mike Vrabel. Will he be back Would he really want to go to the patriots who also had bad years He said he wants to remain and fix this. If no Vrabel No Henry no Tannehill whose left in 2024. Are Autry and Landry under contract for 2024. We need them!!!
Whats the time frame on free agents? Could Derrick be released now and sign with another team now or is there a time frame. I guess coaching changes can be immediate. Again my best Sir.

Jim: I knew you'd be happy about that, Bud! Autry's contract is up, but Landry is under contract through 2026, albeit with some hefty base salaries. We won't know about free agents and how things are developing with the team's own players with expiring contracts until probably early March. Derrick Henry's contract is also up. As for Vrabel, I'll let others share their feelings on that.

Bill Holmes from Fairport, New York
Question: Thanks, Jim, for another great season of communication. I expect the changes will be massive before the first game of 2024 and it will be exciting to see what the team will look like when everything shakes out. Guys like Ryan Tannehill will likely move on, but not without my sincere thanks for being great Titans.
But Derrick Henry showed me yesterday why he should be a Titans lifer, and it wasn't just what he did on the field. We already know about this man's work ethic (those outdoor training videos are insane!) and we certainly see what he can do with the ball. But his character, from never complaining about the OL issues impacting his performance to the genuine love and respect he has for even the "little guys" who keep the team and the stadium running, is genuinely inspirational. This man needs to remain in the Titans organization, and I'm sure there's some creative compensation package that the FO can propose. I saw Earl Campbell and Eddie George finish their careers in another uniform and I'm still scarred. Let's do the right thing.
My question for you - The King aside, who will be the player potentially unlikely to return that will be the biggest loss? I'm thinking Denico Autry - who I also hope they retain.

Jim: Hey Bill. A whole lot of unknowns out there right now. It's way too early for me to speculate about free agents, without any kind of negotiations taking place.

Harriett Turpin from Ashland City, Tennessee
Question: Do you have updates for Ryan Stonehouse?

Jim: I actually do, Harriett. I talked to Ryan yesterday. CLICK HERE to read the story.

Steve Jaramillo from Rio Rancho, New Mexico
Question: Just want to congratulate the Titans for knocking out the Jags from the playoffs. Henry had a great game. I wish him the best, I don't understand why this has to be his last game with the titans. I would love to see us resign him for two yrs. I think he would be a big help in the growth of Levis. Jim do u think there's any chance the Henry could resign with the Titans?

Jim: Hey Steve. Derrick certainly hasn't ruled out coming back. And, just to point out, the team could keep him with the franchise tag. But a lot remains to been seen around here, and across the league.

Danny Salvato from Columbus, Ohio
Question: I have been a fan of the Oilers/Titans since 1977. 1st time with questions. A0 In my opinion the team needs to retain Henry. They will lament not doing so just like the bonehead AJ Brown move. Henry can most likely be retained for a steal and it would be refreshing to see a hall of fame back retire as a Titan not to mention he is a player of great character. The Titans need to address the O line. If they had one that could create lanes and protect the quarterback Henry would have been a 1500 yard plus back on fewer carries and we could have seen better the development of Levis, which would have been very valuable and is needed going into the 2024 campaign. Lastly what are your thoughts on the rumblings of Vrabel being courted by his old NE team. Thanks for listening.

Jim: I've heard those rumblings going on for a while, Danny.

Seth Fischer from Lynchburg, Virginia
Question: What a storybook ending. Great game. So happy to see Henry and Tannehill leave on a high note. This game was special. See yall next season. And to the Jaguars, take that!

Jim: Thanks for chiming in, Seth.

Ed Helinski from Auburn, New York
Question: Hey Jim, love your mailbag work here.
If you have a say with voting, who should be candidates for Titans team MVP? Feel free to list several if you wish.

Jim: Derrick Henry, DeAndre Hopkins, Denico Autry, Harold Landry, Nick Folk, just naming a few off the top of my head.

Michael Miles Sr. from LaVergne Tennessee
Question: Jim just want to say thank you sir for all you put up with and how you handled comments from me and all of the people that wrote to you. It has really been good reading the questions and your answers. I only wish the season was not over but it has to end at some point. I REALLY will miss a few things such as pulling your statements up twice per week or not having Derrick Henry (if he is gone, hope not) gone or being able to see the two tone blue each week. Hope that next year is better but please Jim don't YOU transfer to another team. It just would not be the same with you and a few of our players gone. Thanks Jim, hope to write to you next year.

Jim: Appreciate it, Michael. I have no plans to enter the transfer portal.

Bear Butler from Somerville, Tennessee
Question: Hey Jim hope all is well with you.
1st I want to say thank you to Titans team, I know the season didn't go the way you or us fans would hope but I know you gave all your opponents hell. And in case Ryan and Derrick aren't back next season thank you both for being two of the best Titans I've seen since the team came to Tennessee. I hope RT17 can land a starting role somewhere, and it would be cool to see Henry continue his career at TN but with this team obviously needing to go through a rebuild it would be understandable to see him sign with a contender and maybe get a ring while adding to hopefully a HOF legacy. Also thank you D.Hopkins for being the best FA WR I've seen here, you actually came in and played like D.Hopkins and didn't just come in and draw a check and lay down like soo many others I've seen do. It was really cool to get to see you making plays for the Titans, I used to dread seeing you when you were with the Texans lol.
2nd I've seen the talk of the Patriots wanting Vrabel, and I've seen fans who feel he's a top coach that the team would be foolish to let go, personally reflecting on the Vrabel years, I think he inherited a good roster that had some good years but has also been in steady decline under his and was also Jon Robinson's watch. I think he is a good coach but not some great coach the Titans can't do without. I would be OK with Vrabel going to the Patriots but would hope if Robert Kraft does want Vrabel that Ms Amy will play hardball and ask for 3 consecutive 1st round picks starting with this year's draft, I would settle for no less than this year's 1st and 3rd, let them keep their 2nd to try for a qb. But I would prefer to see her get multiple 1st's. If Vrabel were to go to the Patriots, I would hope Ms Amy and Ran would get together and bring in a young offensive minded HC that would be willing to commit to taylor making an offense around Levis and not someone that would force him to conform to their system. Also if the team does great you dont have to worry about your OC getting poached for a HC job If your HC is the actual brains of the offense. And if possible maybe offer Jim Swartz more money to come back and be the Titans DC.
Anyways Jim I'm hoping for a great draft and great off season. Maybe we get an off season miracle and get Marvin Harrison Jr with the Patriots 1st rd pick and Joe Alt at #7 in the 1st rd. Take care sir.

Jim: A lot of requests in here Bear…

Jack Walker from Calabasas, California
Question: Hey Jim, What a perfect day. Played spoiler vs the jags and didn't lose a draft pick slot. Just a few comments, thanks for everything to Derrick Henry. True class act. You too, Ryan Tannehill. I'm going to call 2024 a "half rebuild". Moving on from DH and RT means financial flexibility and playbook flexibility. I'm OK with a tandem of Chestnut and Spears, or draft Braelon Allen if you want DH v2.0. Be active in free agency and draft a future HOF'er with that #7 draft pick. I believe we have playoff potential NEXT YEAR. Lastly, thank YOU, Jim for another year of keeping all of us up to speed and giving us a chance to vent and cheer loudly through the Mail Bag.

Jim: Appreciate it, Jack.

Allan Stewart from Brookings, Oregon
Question: Why would not the Titans keep Henry for a few more years> Don't be a Boston Red Sox and trade Babe Ruth to the Yankees! He is the reason why the QB has some time because the defense is afraid of him running. He is a great role model, loves the community, gives his all every game and the type of player that make me proud to be a Titan fan.

Jim: This is all true about Derrick.

Jeremy Rodriguez from Winchester, California
Question: Well Jim, what a good way to close out the season and maybe sending Tannehill and Henry out with a win. I don't have a question about the game; I just wanted to say THANK YOU to Henry and Tannehill if this was their last time in a Titans uniform. Thank you for always being a professional, thank you for always being the bigger man and thank you showing these kids how to be a teammate. Your legacy as a Titan is up with the greats and Titan Nation will forever welcome you back either as an opponent or if y'all want to finish your careers as Titans. The tandem you were will be held up there with Moon/Givens, McNair/George, now Tannehill/Henry. Thank you 17 and 22 for being GREAT TITANS! TITAN UP!

Jim: Good to hear from you, Jeremy. It's grilling time.

Ondray Agee from Birmingham, Alabama
Question: Why was Malik Willis not given the opportunity to be the starter? Also, what skills does Will Levis have that Malik Willis doesn't have? Showing favoritism can divide a locker room. That's what the Titans looked like this season. It would have been a great season if the favoritism towards Levis didn't happen.

Jim: Hey Ondray. Malik Willis has had his share of chances. And, the reality is he wasn't convincing when he got them. Football isn't about showing favoritism to players, it's about playing the best players. And Malik was the team's third best quarterback in 2023.

Mickey Whitson from Rossville, Tennessee
Question: Great game. Now lets hear all the "fans" complain because the Titans won. Sad to see Tannehill go, hopefully they can keep The King on the team. Thanks Jim for all you do.

Jim: I've actually heard from a number of Titans fans on Twitter, or X, who were disappointed with the win. That thinking just doesn't make sense to me.

Peter Palmer from Miramar, Florida
Question: Hi Jim. It was good to see us going out on a high note. Once again we join the see you next year club. My take away from this game is we certainly had the players to have made the playoffs but due to poor coaching our season has ended. To all Titan fans I say a Big Titan Up !!!!!!!!!!!!

Jim: It was great to end on a high note. And, as I've said in here many times during the course of the season, this team underachieved at 6-11.

Isaac Tipton from Sumter, South Carolina
Question: Hey Jim. First off…love ya bro. Loved the win against the Jags primarily I didn't want them to win the division in our turf. So very proud of our boys on the goal line stand like we like to do. Even tho we didn't make the playoffs I wanted this WIN. What is your take on Derrick Henry staying with us. In my thoughts he is what we have been….hence Eddie George, Chris Johnson, and now Derrick Henry. Why would we let him go? We have the cap space so pay the man his due. Don't do what we did to CJ2K. Pay THE MAN.

Jim: Hey Isaac. Point taken.

Charlie White from Tampa, Florida
Question: Jim. Really cool seeing Derrick Henry (DH) giving you a shoutout and overall seeing him ball out and being so humble and thankful today.
I'm not sure when you're planning to post the petition for the keep DH letter to be sent to Mrs. Amy but I'm sure it'll break the internet when you do.
Also it was great seeing Ryan getting to play and do well today. It was a proper send off for him and all the great things be did with the Titans.
Overall a very positive way to enter the post season with so many changes coming.
I hope you get some time off to spend with your fam, can't wait to see what happens over the next 8-months .

Jim: Derrick is a great guy. It was incredible to hear him roll off the names of so many people in the organization, all across the building.

Evan Tatum from Portland, Tennessee
Question: Hey Jim. It's no secret this was a bad season for the Titans, but there's always gonna be a part of me that's bummed out when it's over. In case people are curious, Tennessee would be picking at #6 overall if they had lost to Jacksonville, so they lost a spot in the draft to knock a division rival out of the playoffs (ironically a year after the Jaguars knocked us out). I'm not sure about everyone else, but I'd say that's pretty worth it. This will be a very important offseason for Tennessee, it'll probably really indicate how Tennessee believes they'll do in 2024. Onto the offseason, and until next time, Titanup!

Jim: The win was definitely worth it, Evan.

Petre Sloan from Camdenton, MO. (Lake of The Ozarks)
Question: Hey J.W.,HAPPY NEW YEAR to you and yours, hope it's a great one for you. Well we won the last one and went out with a bang.
My two cents injected here, we need to keep Henry for sure and Tannehill as number 2 (if he would let us). Henry is the face of the franchise and can still play. At least put the franchise tag on him. Tannehill is still a good QB and has always been a Pro. I say keep them both.
What do you think Jim and please don't say we'll see. Give us fans your gut feelings.. Thanks and for all that you do you're the MAN. Titans fan forever.

Jim: We'll see… 😊. The truth is it's just too early to know. A lot of stuff needs to be sorted out over the next few months before these decisions will take place.

Dick Clodfelter from Bell Buckle, Tennessee
Question: Hi Jim. No question, just comments. DH proved today that he's far from being over the hill at 30, overcoming a season in fine style where the OL and play calling weren't especially helpful to him. He deserves to be resigned--if he wants to stay with the Titans, that is, so management should make him an offer that can't be refused by a reasonably smart business guy. Same can be said for RT as well. Enjoy the off season, you've earned it by listening to us dissatisfied fans rant for so long. Cheers

Jim: It's been my pleasure. Thanks for taking the time, Dick.

Joseph Waldrup from Franklin, Tennessee
Question: Hi Jim. The game against Jacksonville Sunday was a great way to end a disappointing season. For a minute I thought it was the Titans playing for a spot in playoffs and not the Jaguars.
Maybe the team had extra incentive because the Jags beat us at the end of last year to keep the Titans out, but they played the way we have come to expect them to play.
Thanks for once putting up with all of us Monday morning coaches and quarterbacks while keeping this column interesting and varied.
My question, what are you planning to do in your offseason!?

Jim: Hey Joseph. The reality is the offseason oftentimes is busier than the season. At some point this summer I plan to get away – eyeing Glacier National Park after recent trips to Yellowstone and Yosemite – but that's down the road. For now, I'm expecting to be busy with work, and travel. The Senior Bowl, Super Bowl, NFL Combine, NFL owners meetings and the NFL Draft are all on the horizon.

Have a great week everyone!

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