NASHVILLE – It's been a busy few days in Titan Land, as the Titans have signed quarterback Ryan Tannehill and tackle Dennis Kelly to a multi-year deals, while also keeping running back Derrick Henry with the franchise tag.
The Titans are now allowed to negotiate a long-term deal to replace the franchise tag until July 15th, after which time Henry would have to play the 2020 season under the one-year franchise tag.
So we'll see what happens there.
Meanwhile, free agency is scheduled to officially begin on Wednesday, so things could get even wilder than they've been across the NFL already. On Monday, agent Drew Rosenhaus let it be known Titans tackle Jack Conklin is going to sign with the Browns.
Let's discuss some of the biggest topics in this Tuesday's Titans mailbag.
Here's hoping everyone out there is staying safe and healthy during these unsettling times in the world…
Terry Anderson from Glasgow, Kentucky
Question: Now that Ryan has agreed to terms, and King Henry is tagged, what is next? We've seen recently teams pay the qb a dump truck load of money, ie Wentz, Goff, Russell Wilson, and Aaron Rodgers. With nothing left for other players, they lose. All be it they lose in the playoffs but with the playoff field growing more teams will lose in the playoffs. The Titans were one game away from the Super Bowl But came up short in KC.
Jim: Hey Terry. Well, next is seeing if there's a chance to keep some more of the team's own free agents, whether that's Logan Ryan, Kamalei Correa, Tajae Sharpe or others. The team has over a dozen guys scheduled to become unrestricted free agents on Wednesday. Some of them won't be back because they'll get more money elsewhere. I don't expect the team to make tender offers to their restricted free agents – running backs David Fluellen and receiver Darius Jennings. And, of course, the Titans can enter the sweepstakes for free agents from other teams as well.
Darris Mays from Lewisville, Texas
Question: Hello Jim! I hope all is well. Why did we sign Tannehill first and not Henry? I think our defense is our first priority, second is our offense line. I think signing Henry first is our first priority over Tannehill. With so many QBS entering free agency plus the draft I think we're ok. I'm not putting Tannehill down, he's a good QB, but our defense needs Logan Ryan. Please keep Logan team. Titan up.
Jim: Hey Darris. Why Tannehill first instead of Henry? That's the first deal the team could work out. And, I think it was important to get in front of the quarterback market before a lot of these other deals for QBs get worked out and raise the asking price. Again, the Titans will still try and get something done with Henry. I think both sides would love to see that happen. As for Logan Ryan, yeah I'd like to see him back, too. But getting the QB under contract trumps the needs on defense, in my opinion.
David Stalder from Albuquerque, New Mexico
Question: Hey, Jim. So, not so much a Titans question, though it effects the Titans. Bill O'Brien just traded arguably the best WR in the AFC South, a generational type talent, to the NFC--getting him out of our hair--for a RB who may or may not even be blue chip. Can't believe it, it's like O'Brien is trying to hand us the division. Suspect his days are numbered. Did you ever believe the Titans wouldn't have to face DeAndre Hopkins twice a year for the next 8 years?
Jim: Hey David. I saw that trade yesterday and could hardly believe it. I think everyone was ready to see Hopkins leave the AFC South. He's one of the best receivers in the NFL, and he's given the Titans a lot of headaches.
Dakota Eltzroth from Gatlinburg, Tennessee
Question: I know you may disagree with me on this one but hey, that is what makes your column unique and fun to read. I will say, a part of me was excited to see Tom Brady potentially come to the Titans but that is behind us so it is time to move on from that topic. I was a little disappointed to see that the team reached a deal with Tannehill before Henry just because of how much work and success that Henry brought in the regular season and in the playoffs; I personally thought Henry deserved the long term deal and Tannehill should have been tagged JUST to see a full year of consistency from Tannehill and to see if he will carry over what he did last year (we don't want a one and done or Foles situation) no offense to Foles and I wish Tannehill success next year. Obviously, there is no changing what has taken place and JRob is the man in charge making the decisions and he has made many in the past that have worked out, I trust he will keep Henry happy and the team will succeed. I look forward to another year and hope every other Titan comes back to the team. As always TitanUp!
Jim: Hey Dakota. Good to hear from you again. And I agree that Henry has earned a long-term deal. And while I know you know this, just a reminder: Just because Henry doesn't have a deal on March 17 doesn't mean he won't have one in a month or so. And all those suggesting he might hold out or not show up for offseason workouts, heck, we don't know right now that there will be offseason workouts, or OTAs. There's just a lot of uncertainties in the world right now.
Joe Black from Norton, Virginia
Question: Hey Jim. I think it's time for me to move on from the Tennessee Titans. They made the worst deal in franchise history. Ryan Tannehill's season was a fluke season and it was because Derrick Henry. They ruined Mariota. I think I'm just going be a fan of whoever he signs for. I used to think we had a great G.M. But how can you not see Tannehill is not the answer? Been a Titan fan since I was a kid, but after this move, I'm done.
Jim: So, Joe. You stuck with the team after it went 14 years (from 2004 to 2017) without winning a playoff game? You stuck with the team after it went 2-14 in 2014, and 3-13 in 2015? And now you're ready to bail because the Titans signed a quarterback who went 9-4 mark as a starter and helped guide the team to its first AFC Championship Game since 2002? OK. Best to you.
John Stapleton from Nashville, Tennessee
Question: Hey Jim. Just when you think your teams on the up and up, they go and make the worse free agent signing from any team since Elvis Grbac. I just have to ask myself why have I been a fan of this franchise since i was a kid? Marcus is going to go on and be a star, while Titans are stuck with a washed-up Ryan Tannehill who's profiting off Derrick Henry's great season. I've lost all faith in Jon Robinson and the Titans. If you can't see that Tannehill season was a fluke your blind as a bat. Wherever Mariota signs is my new team.
Jim: Hey John. Maybe get in touch with Joe and you guys can hang out in the fall.
Paul L from Rome, Italy
Question: The first time I have come to your mailbag Jim though I have followed the Titans since the early 90s when they were in Houston, despite the distance of my support being that I am English and now living in Italy! The lack of news about Jack Conklin (before Monday) surprises me. Why is there apparently so little interest in resigning him? Was his end of season form classic end of contract improvement to earn a new contract? This particularly surprises me as the improved O line play, as much as the QB change, seemed to change our fortunes. I assume that the Titans, with Conklin set to leave, will be making O line and especially OT a draft/free agency priority?
Jim: Hey Paul. Welcome aboard. Hope you're doing O.K. during such a tough time in Italy, and here, too. Stay healthy. The Titans wanted Conklin back, but as I suspected he was offered a boatload by another team in free agency (the Browns), and it priced Tennessee out. The deal for Conklin was reportedly worth $42 million over three years, with $30 million guaranteed. So now, after re-signing Dennis Kelly, adding another tackle or two this offseason for depth/competition is on the table.
Johnny Long from Bowling Green, Kentucky
Question: Hey Jim, thanks for everything you do especially in the off-season for us fans. My question is what is the team doing to keep Logan Ryan? He is one of my favorite players on our team, he's extremely football intelligent and love what he does off the field with the Logan Ryan foundation. I really hope to see him back in two tone blue for 2020 and further. Glad we got Tannehill and Henry back, in JRob we trust! Hoping for an even better finish to next season! Stay safe in these pandemic times Titans Nation!!
Jim: Hey Johnny. Doing my best to stay healthy, thanks. And I have parents in their 80s, and a wife who has diabetes, so I need to avoid this virus. I'm with you on Logan. I really like him, and I'd love to see him back. He's a great player, and a great locker room guy. He's a tone-setter in the offseason, on and off the field. But there's a lot to be sorted out in negotiations with him as well. As the HC and GM said at the combine, free agency is a two-way street. Just like Conklin, I think Logan is going to be offered a lucrative deal that could make it tough to keep him. He'd be greatly missed in the Nashville community if that happens.
Joe Allen from Lebanon, Tennessee
Question: Just wanted to say congratulations to Ryan T. he deserved it! Sorry to see Delanie Walker go, but that is life in the NFL unfortunately! Can't wait for the start of the new season and our Titans being led by our franchise QB! Now we need to concentrate on a pass rusher out of the draft! Oh, Jim, thank you for all the work you do to keep us informed and a big shout out to Mike Keith as well!
Jim: Appreciate it, Joe. Getting Tannehill back in the fold was very important. As for Delanie, he goes down as probably the best free agent acquisition in the history of the Titans. He'll be missed.
Tony Malgiero from El Paso, Texas
Question: The release of Wake, Lewis, Succop, and Walker was a necessary of evil IMO. In Walker's case its kind of sad because how great he was over the years on some bad teams, but it came with a failed physical designation so I assume the front office felt like they had no choice but to conduct business the right way. Hopefully he heals up just for quality of life moving forward, even if he never gets to play again. With that being said, free agency is right around the corner. The legal tampering period started on Monday. Hopefully we get some of our own guys signed before then. I would like to see Logan make it back to the team also, but feel like the team has some players already that can fill that role if they can't get him back. I'm not sure they'll ever be as good in all the areas that he was, but I think they can get the job done. Other than those positions, what do you think are some need areas for the team? What position should the team look to upgrade in FA before the draft? What position do you think the team would be best served to wait on the draft before upgrading?
Jim: Hey Tony. Delanie hasn't been right since he suffered the ankle injury in the 2018 opener. Here's hoping he gets right and continues to have success in the NFL (except for when he's playing against the Titans). 😊
Looking at the team's needs now – and they could be different with the draft rolls around – I think they're at edge rusher, cornerback, back-up running back, more help on the offensive line, and possibly back-up QB. Mike Vrabel really praised QB Logan Woodside at the NFL Combine, but I still expect another QB to be in the mix in camp.
Jay Downs Siska from Paducah, Kentucky
Question: What is going to happen to Marcus Mariota??
Jim: According to reports, he's going to sign with the Las Vegas Raiders, where he'll be Derek Carr's back-up. Maybe Marcus can resurrect his career like Ryan Tannehill has done in Tennessee. Here's wishing him well...
Have a great week everyone! Stay safe and heathy!