NASHVILLE – During some unsettling times in the world, things have kept moving in the NFL.
Free agency started on Wednesday, and we've seen signings, trades, and players released.
Things have been busy with the Titans as well.
But keep in mind a lot of NFL teams aren't announcing deals until they're official, which typically involves the player passing a physical. And for now, because of the COVID-19 epidemic, physicals are being held up.
Let's discuss what we know in this weekend's mailbag.
Here's hoping everyone is staying healthy and safe…
Kelly McDowell from Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
Question: Hey Jim. Second time writing in and I'm don't think I have been more disappointed with J-Rob... generally he does great and he has gotten this team on its feet again. So why would you get rid of arguably your best defender for a lowly 7th round pick? Casey has been a staple of our defense and I'm sad to see him leave... Broncos fans will be extremely happy with him on their front line, and I wish the best for Casey. Seriously though I believe this is J-Robs absolute worst move since he has become the Titans GM. What are your thoughts on that trade? Other than that, I like most of the cuts he has made and Vic Beasley will be a good addition for our defense. (Just not good enough to fill the void of Casey being traded.)
Jim: Hi Kelly. Time will tell if it was the right move or not. I'm not going to say anything negative about Jurrell, because he's been a class act, and a great player during his entire career with the Titans. He was productive on the field, and in the community. And I'm sure not going to call out the GM, who took over a 3-13 team and has built a title contender after four straight 9-7 seasons. I think we can agree he has pretty good track record. This much we know: Jurrell was scheduled to make a lot of money this year in Tennessee ($13.9 million against the cap) and next year ($13.9 million). He's coming off a year when his numbers dipped, and he missed a few games with an injury. In fairness, no one can truly judge the trade until, 1) We see who the Titans sign with that money, 2) We see how the players perform that now will replace Jurrell, and 3) We see how Jurrell plays in Denver. I still remember the uproar when the GM traded Dorial Green-Beckham to the Eagles for Dennis Kelly. I don't hear anyone complaining about that deal now. Green-Beckham has been out of the league for a while, and Kelly has been a great pro who just signed a new deal. So let's see how this one plays out.
Jeremy Rodriguez from San Diego, California
Question: Now that Tannenill is locked in and the "What if Brady does this or that" is out of the way; does tagging Henry hurt the team? Now him sitting out is a card he can play. I hope he doesn't and the Titans do right and sign him to a long term deal. I believe in J-Rob, so will do the cliché "Trust the process ". Have a great week! TITAN UP!!
Jim: Hi Jeremy. Tagging Henry doesn't hurt the team – it keeps him with the team for 2020. Losing him, now that would have hurt the team. The plan is to sign Derrick to a deal, and now the team has until July 15 to do it. No matter what, the team has him under contract for at least one more year.
Bill Ellis from Thompson Station, Tennessee
Question: Why would we trade our defensive tackle number 99 for only a 7th round draft pick. STUPID.
Jim: Hey Bill. As stated before, Casey had a huge cap number. Not every team wants to take that on. And in a lot of cases, teams won't give a team anything if they know a guy is on the verge of either getting traded or cut. Just ask the Rams, who got nothing for Todd Gurley.
Ryan Williams from Los Angeles, California
Question: This is my first time writing. However, I have followed your Q@A sessions for years. It has been a while since we have let a player go that comes with as much pain as trading Jurrell Casey. From a production standpoint, he has been one of the rather steady DT's in the league for years, and I'm sure it goes without saying seeing him take the field in two-tone blue will be missed. Do you think JRob did this to sign Henry sooner or do you think there is a free agent worth this sort of production loss left?
Jim: Hi Ryan. No doubt Jurrell is going to be missed. He's one of my all-time favorite Titans. Personally, I don't think the move was made because the team desperately needed the money to immediately sign someone else to a blockbuster deal, or to put the team in a position to sign Henry. It just think it was a business decision based on finances, while projecting what a player might do who's headed into his 10th NFL season.
E.M. McFarland from Chula Vista, California
Question: What is the Titans plan to replace Jurrell Casey? Right up there with getting rid of Kyle Vanden Bosch, Albert Haynesworth or Jevon Kearse in their prime. Maybe these kinda worked out if you compare what they did on other teams, but what they were doing while on Titans does not justify it.
Jim: Hi E.M. I get your frustration. The mailbag has been loaded with Jurrell questions. But man, you'd make a bad attorney. In making your case, you cite the team getting rid of Haynesworth and Kearse "in their prime" as bad moves. The Titans offered Haynesorth a deal after back-to-back All-Pro seasons, and he left to take a big contract with the Redskins. He had 8.5 sacks in his final year with the Titans in 2008, and a combined 6.5 sacks in the four years that followed with Skins, Patriots and Bucs. He wasn't worth the $100 million deal he got from the 'Skins. Kearse was never close to being the same player when he left the Titans. He actually came back to Tennessee after four so-so years in Philly. But his career took a bad turn when he left, after getting an offer from the Titans as well. As for Vanden Bosch, he did go on to have a nice run with the Lions. But there's no comparing the situation when Casey and those guys. Casey was traded while all of the guys you mentioned turned down deals with the Titans to go elsewhere. And you have to make decisions based on what you think will happen moving forward, not necessarily on what's happened in the past.
Douglas Sullins from Johnson City, Tennessee
Question: Dear Jim, Thank you for your service. I've been a fan for decades...back before the merger I was an AFL fan...lol. Anyways a few things I have learned over the years is that the game is won or lost in the trenches...aka the line. Am I to understand that All Pro Conklin is history? If so will the Titans go F/A shopping to replace him or use the draft? Also sadly the Titans receivers are mediocre at best. Why didn't the Titans trade for Hopkins or Diggs? I mean AZ got Hopkins for a ham sandwich pretty much. Finally with TN low draft pick who are some of the best players they could get? Finally what do YOU think are the Titans biggest NEEDS right now? Thanks and God bless you. OK now finally in Greek or perhaps Roman mythology the Giants were the father of Apollo and the Titans were the fathers of the Giants thus when the AFL NY team chose a name they originally went with Titans b/c their competition was the NY Giants.
Jim: Hey Douglas. Appreciate it. Dennis Kelly will be in line to replace Jack, but I expect more tackles to be added to the mix either in the draft and/or free agency. I thought the Cardinals got the best of the Hopkins trade, but I sure wouldn't call David Johnson and draft picks a "ham sandwich." Biggest needs for the Titans? I still think help is needed at outside linebacker, back-up RB, depth/competition on the o-line, and now on the defensive line following the Casey trade. And I expect another QB behind Ryan Tannehill will be added to the mix.
Joni Daniels from Antioch, Tennessee
Question: I am a PSL and season ticket Titans fan. I am still trying to wrap my head around the franchise tag for Derrick Henry. Why was a big contract given to Ryan Tannehill for approximately 10 games of work whereas Derrick Henry has proven himself over the last 2 seasons? I know Derrick Henry is a team player and appears laid back and easy going but I wouldn't be surprised if he elected to sit out the beginning of the season for demanded to be traded. I wouldn't blame him if he did!!
Jim: Hi Joni. Thanks for the question. Let's not sell Ryan short. He played in 13 games, went 9-4, led the NFL in passer rating, and was a big reason the Titans made it to the AFC Championship Game. As for Derrick, there's no doubt he's done his part to earn a long-term deal, but the two sides haven't come to an agreement on what a deal might look. What happens moving forward? I don't know. I do know when a running back like Todd Gurley gets released (and then signed to a one-year deal) and David Johnson gets traded, that's not a great development for running backs looking to secure a big contract. With that said, Derrick is a better fit for the Titans than either of those players, and he's valuable. That's why the team would love to keep him.
Cory Westerbeck from Chattanooga, Tennessee
Question: I agree with management's decision to keep Tannehill. I haven't had so much fun watching the Titans play since 2008. I was about to express my fear that losing so many great players to free agency would be difficult to recover from AND ask your opinion on if the Titans' overall winning culture would be enough to make them true contenders next season - but then I thought of Vrabel and where he came from and the Patriots and their ability to come back strong almost every year with different players on their roster. I have to believe that Amy Strunk's vision for the team and Mr. Robinson, the coaches and a few key players all being on the same page is enough to fire up the entire team and encourage the mental attitude and fortitude required to have a winning season - every year. I am proud to say that I will be a Titans fan for life regardless of who's behind center, who's carrying the ball, who's on the coaching staff, or who's calling the plays (Arthur is ROCKIN' it btw) or even who's managing the mailbag - but you'd be a tough act to follow Mr. Wyatt! Thanks!
Jim: Appreciate it Cory. You're right in that the key now is to bounce back and do it again. And it won't be easy. Getting to the AFC Championship Game doesn't guarantee anything for the next year. While you can look at the offense right now and name the 11 starters, things are going to have to fall into place, and chemistry will need to be built. The defense has some work to do, and there are plenty of holes that need to be filled. Every team in the NFL is striving to get better right now, just like the Titans.
David Smith from Bend, Oregon
Question: Hi Jim. I was wondering if Cody Hollister has been signed for next year and if you have any other information about his status on the team.
Jim: Hi David. Cody signed a two-year deal before last season, so he is under contract for 2020. I thought Cody stepped in and did a good job last season before being slowed late by an injury. I expect him to compete for a roster spot/practice squad this fall as well.
Alan Ray from College Grove, Tennessee
Question: Happy to see you are still working behind the scenes. I just want to thank Jurrell Casey so much for the great plays, the strong leadership and the big heart he brought to our team. So, thank you, Jurrell, for being a Tennessee Titan. We will miss the Crack Attack! Wishing the very best for you and your family headin' west.
Jim: Appreciate you taking the time, Alan.
Reuben Alvear from San Francisco, California
Question: Hi, Jim. I'm stoked TEN re-signed Dennis Kelly and Ryan Tannehill because it seems the two are well liked by their fellow Titan comrades. Plus, the moves may foster more continuity, cohesion and camaraderie. However, I was saddened that TEN parted ways with Jurrell Casey. He was durable, consistently productive and, at times, dominant. I loved that he backed up his confident swagger by walking the walk. He'll be missed. Yet, I'll trust the vision of Mike Vrabel and Jon Robinson, as the latter has made a number of good moves for the Titans via free agency and the NFL Draft. Fun fact: this past season on 12/8 I was in Oakland watching the Titans v Raiders. In the parking lot just before kickoff I shook hands with an individual who said he was Jurrell Casey's cousin. And the guy did seem genuine in telling me that :-)
Jim: Hey Reuben. No doubt you have company in your sadness with Jurrell leaving. If you've read this whole mailbag, you've been able to see what I'm talking about. Cool story on meeting Jurrell's cousin. And I'm sure it was nice to have an ally in Oakland!
Calvin Lum from Phoenix, Arizona
Question: Now that Marcus M signed with the Raiders as a back-up QB, did the Titans ever talked to Marcus as a back-up role? It would seem that it would make sense as it would make the QB back system as strong tandem. Marcus would make Raiders Nation a lot stronger.
Jim: Hey Calvin. Marcus was moving on. He knew it – he sold his house in Nashville after the season – and the team knew it. And I hope Marcus does well. He's a great guy.
Leslie Smith from Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Question: Need to sign Henry in the worst way. What is the hold up? How much are they apart on the deal. It sends the wrong message to the team and fans.
Jim: Hi Leslie. I agree it would be great to sign Derrick to a multi-year deal, but I can't tell you how far apart the two sides are on a contract. I can tell you there's time.
Have a great weekend everyone. Stay healthy and safe!