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Weekend Mailbag: Jim Wyatt Answers Questions From Titans Fans

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NASHVILLE – We're more than halfway through OTAs at Saint Thomas Sports Park, and now zeroing in on the team's minicamp later this month.

Yes, we've still got a ways to go, but Titans training camp really isn't that far away now.

Meanwhile, the questions continue to roll in.

Let's tackle more of them in this weekend's Titans mailbag …

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

Brendon Hicks from Ft Wainwright, Alaska
Question:
Hey, Mr.Wyatt! With AJ having his knee surgeries this offseason, do you think his workload will be decreased? Or do you think he will come back as fast and strong as before? I know he is a as tough as they come. I just worry about his longevity.

Jim: Hey Brendon. Well, A.J. has proven to be a gamer. He battled the knee all season, and he played through it. Some guys would have gone on IR. I don't think it will impact him for 2021, however. He's been rehabbing to get himself right, and I think it will pay off this fall. The last thing A.J. – or Titans fans – want to see is a decreased workload. The offense is going to need him.

Eli Rodgers from Corinth, Mississippi
Question:
Hey Jim. We're wrapping up our school year here, so I'm gonna be depending on you to help fill the hours til Training Camp rolls around. My question is about the salary cap. What rules are there in place to keep teams from paying a majority of salaries in signing bonuses instead of regular paychecks. It seems to me a team could give a player a 4 year - $80 million dollar contract, with a $60 Million signing bonus so it only counts $5 million against the cap each year of the contract. Does that make sense? Did I find a loophole? What other tricks to do teams have for creating salary cap room? Thanks for the info and keeping us up to date!

Jim: Hey Eli. Hopefully I can meet the challenge! Teams do work in lower salaries to help manage the cap, but they still have to spread out the signing bonus, which counts against the cap. So that $60 million signing bonus prorated over four years would count $15 million against the cap each year, in addition to the base salary. The best way to create cap room – which the Titans would need to do to sign an expensive free agent now – would be by renegotiating contracts of other players. Teams can turn a hefty base salary into a bonus, which allows them to prorate it over several years rather than having a bae salary that counts all in one year.

Tom Darko from Great Falls, Montana
Question:
Hey Jim. Thanks for keeping us informed with your insight to the Titans! My question is, with one of your comments last week about "help possibly coming at TE and WR", do you think possibly Delanie Walker at TE? He's obviously in great shape and would be an incredible mentor for Swaim and Firksher. I believe that even if he only got 15-20 snaps a game would put even more pressure on the defenses with the way Ryan, AJ, and King Henry have been playing. What do you think?

Jim: Hey Tom! I'll be out in your neck of the woods later this summer – headed to Jackson Hole and then into the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone. I'm really looking forward to that. I've had several questions about Delanie, who is one of my all-time favorites. I saw where he worked out for the 49ers earlier this week. I haven't heard any buzz about a possible return, and to be honest, it would surprise me if it happened. I still think more help is coming at the position, though.

Jordan Bell from Tampa, Florida
Question:
Serious question: How in the HELL did Naquan Jones go undrafted? He will make some plays for sure & maybe be our missing piece in the run game! Many blessings to you. Titan up!

Jim: I think he has potential, too, Jordan. Watching him in practice, he's a big man. Time will tell if he turns out to be a great find.

Arthur Reed from Nashville, Tennessee
Question:
Not so many veterans at OTA's? Have those absent heard that there is a new OC and a new DC who maybe have new ideas of how to go about the game of football? Virtual learning may have been necessary, but it is no substitute for face-to-face, hands on instruction. Aren't those skipping OTA's tired of staring at a screen by now? Isn't there some unwritten code for the veterans to help coach up the new guys, pulling together to coalesce into the NFL's best team? I have heard that leaders lead by example. Voluntary or not, blowing off OTA's does not seem like much of an example. As for any player not being vaccinated by now…just unfathomable.

Jim: As expected, a lot more veterans showed up this week, Arthur. I counted 72, up nearly 20 from the previous week. Remember, the OTAs are voluntary, not mandatory. When the minicamp begins the middle of this month, you're going to see a big turnout.

Thomas Yates from Lillimay, Tennessee
Question:
Hello Jim, hope things are well on your side of the scrimmage line. I'm disappointed that the Ravens are not on the schedule for this season. The rivalry was enjoyable to watch this past season, and I was looking forward to it.... Do you know if the crew formatting the schedule takes such things in consideration, to pique fan interest and participation?

Jim: Hi Thomas. I'd love to see that game on the schedule every year, because it's always intense. Unfortunately, it's not going to happen. Most of the schedule each year is determined in advance, based on divisions, and in some cases, how teams finished the prior year. The Titans, based on their 1st place finish in the AFC South, would've faced the Ravens in 2021 if they'd won the AFC North. Instead, they'll travel to face the Steelers, the 1st place team in the AFC North a year ago.

Federico Alatriste from Querétaro, México
Question:
Hola from México Jim! Is there abu chance the team might consider trading for Zach Ertz? I know he's has his share of injury issues, but i think that position is thinner than WR... What do You think the Titans would have to Pay to get him? Have a crear día!

Jim: Hola Federico. He recibido muchas preguntas sobre Zach Ertz. Creo que deberías considerarlo. Es un gran jugador y ayudaría. No estoy seguro de qué se necesitaría desde el punto de vista de la compensación; creo que eso podría determinar si sucede o no. Que tengas un buen día y gracias por escribirnos.

Joe Brauch from Cincinnati, Ohio
Question:
Hey Jim! First time writer here and want to thank you for keeping us fans informed on what's going on in Titanland. This is more of an observation than a question really about the potential acquisition of Julio Jones (assuming he hasn't been dealt by the time this mailbag comes out). I feel like it would hurt us in the long run more than it helps us in the short-term. I know as a smaller market team, the national spotlight isn't always on us, so anytime there's a chance to chase and acquire a big name, it seems fans are always eager to be willing to part with whatever it takes just to have that player on our team. We struck gold last year with 3 big names (fools' gold in hindsight) in Clowney, Beasley, and Joseph and none of them made it thru the year (Beasley and Joseph were cut after the Bengals game and Clowney landed on IR after a handful of games). With Julio's cap number this year and the following two years, I feel adding him would require us to part with several young players nearing the end of their rookie deals. Evans and Jayon would almost certainly cost too much to bring back and eventually Nate Davis, AJ Brown, Jeffery Simmons, and Amani Hooker (if he shines in his bigger role) will be up for and worthy of extensions of their own. I like the Reynolds addition and we'll see how the Fitzpatrick pick turns out (I've seen you raving about him so far), but for a usually banged up receiver on the wrong side of 30, I think we might be better off chasing cap casualties (Jamison Crowder?) than selling the farm for a receiver that costs more than the guy we just let go (Davis). Thanks for reading, Jim, and GO TITANS!

Jim: Good to hear from you, Joe. I appreciate hearing both sides of this from the fan base. I think you're outnumbered on your opinion, but it's clear you're not alone.

Jared Hoover from Mobile, Alabama
Question:
Hey Jim. I would like to ask with a lot of free agents still out there do you think that we will go after a few of defensive player to beef up are defensive line? And do you think we need to add a few more cornerbacks?

Jim: Hey Jared. I actually think the numbers are pretty good at cornerback, where Janoris "Jackrabbit" Jenkins, Caleb Farley and Elijah Molden have been added, along with a few more guys who will compete. Kristian Fulton and Breon Borders are in the mix as well. Kevin Johnson did retire on Friday, so maybe someone will be added to take his place. As for the d-line, the team signed veterans Trevon Coley and Abry Jones on Thursday. Before that, I thought the group was pretty thin myself.

Calvin Spadafore from Houston, Texas
Question:
Hey Jim, Calvin back at you again reppin my Oiler/Titans from Htown since 1978. Hope you're doing well and I still enjoy everything you do for us Titan fans, great job buddy! Last time I to vent about Vrabel and I appreciated your perspective it was very enlightening I appreciate it! But I have another issue I wanted to discuss that's been getting on my nerves since draft day. It's about all this negative attention I've been hearing about our draft and mainly our WR's and Dez Fitzpatrick more importantly. People need to lay off and give these guys a chance because I personally think this kid is special and is exactly what we need at the position! Good size, good speed, nice route runner and underrated pedigree because his father wasn't a bad receiver his damn self! Not to mention he's been coaching Dez and running receiver drills with him since he was 6 yrs old for Christ's sakes!! Gimme a break,,how many wideouts can actually boast that type of pedigree!! The main reason people are selling him short is because he didn't play in the "SEC" he played in Louisville with sucky quarterbacks, minus Lamar's last season there!! So mark my words he will end up being our WR2 and give us one of the best WR duos in all of football. Book it!! Great job JRob,Vrabes,and Amy!! #TitanUp

Jim: Coming in hot, Calvin! You sure you're not Dez's agent? 😊 Thanks for writing in.

Sean Duncan from Waldorf, Maryland
Question:
Hey Jim, first off wanted to say been a fan of the mailbag for years, it's always been great to see all of us Titans fans have a medium to express how we feel and get feedback from someone we trust such as yourself. You're the bomb Jim. Secondly, my question it's about the receivers and tight ends. I saw that you said you believe the Titans are not done adding receivers, and I agree. While I don't think Julio will come in a trade because of his contract, I wanted to see which WR do you think/like that's left in the free agency pool that could help us? My choice would be Golden Tate because of his blocking ability. And for the Tight Ends, how do you feel about Jared Pinkney? I think he can be a versatile piece going forward he has good athleticism and can develop as a blocker, so what's your take? Thanks for everything man!!!!

Jim: Appreciate it, Sean! I'm curious to see how the whole Julio thing plays out myself. I've looked at the market, and a few guys out there intrigue me. I better hold off on which guys could be a possibility, though. As for Pinkney, I liked him at the start of his career at Vanderbilt. He hasn't been around for OTAs so far, and to be honest, I'm very surprised. I get some of the proven veterans opting to work out on their own elsewhere. But a guy like Pinkney, who needs the work, and time to get on the same page with his new teammates ... I don't get it.

Eli Decko from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Question:
Hey Jim, 1 week closer to the season! I have seen more and more of the Julio to Nashville speculation and I wrote you a few weeks back about it. Then the video comes out with him and Henry working out together, which this is apparently the first time that has happened I mean these guys are alumni of Alabama and they probably have a good bond already, but wouldn't that make even more sense to put this thing together? I understand Tennessee isn't the most broke team but we clearly aren't in the best cap situation either or you'd think we would have kept a younger, potentially higher ceiling Corey Davis than attempting a shot at a superstar. I just feel like AJ Brown is gonna get some serious bracket coverage if there isn't a clear threat on the other side, which Reynolds is not and the two rookies aren't either. It would help keep defenses away from the line so Henry can continue to dominate too. From a 1-10 low to high scale what would you guess the chances of that happening? I know you don't like predictions but just for us fans what would you say?

Jim: Hey Eli. I predict you'll see another Titans mailbag here on Tuesday…

Have a great weekend everyone!

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