NASHVILLE – It's been a week like no other across the United States.
The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in a dizzying number of cancellations and suspensions in the sports world, while also leaving people everywhere concerned, and unsure of what's next.
Here's hoping things will settle down, and life as we know it will return in the not-so-distance future.
In the meantime, the questions continue to roll into the Titans mailbag. For now, the start of the new league year in the NFL is now just days away, so a frenzy of activity could be on the horizon.
Let's get to these questions.
Stay safe everyone ….
William Crewell Jr from Scotia, New York
Question: Hello Jim. First time writing in with a question. I have been a Titans fan since back in the Warren Moon Houston Oilers Run-N-Shoot offense days. Was just wondering about the three signings so far. Why just 1-year deals? Is it a salary cap move? Or do you think that there is more to it than that? Titan Up.
Jim: Hey William. Good to hear from you. You're talking about the one-year deals for receiver Cameron Batson, tight end Anthony Firkser, and outside linebacker Reggie Gilbert. And on Thursday, the team re-signed defensive back Chris Milton to a one-year deal after waiving him a day earlier. The reality is I just think those were simple deals -- Batson, Firkser and Gilbert were all scheduled to be exclusive rights free agents. Instead of waiting, it was easier to sign them to a contract rather than formally placing the ERFA tag on the player, and them accepting it. There was also a cap benefit to the way the Milton deal was handled. The deals with some of the bigger name players scheduled to become free agents are more complicated and they require negotiating, and a lot of them hinge on the Collective Bargaining Agreement that's still being sorted out. So that's partly why there's been no action for some of those guys.
Joan Dutton from Cerritos, California
Question: I see that Dion Lewis and Cameron Wake were released this week (along with Delanie Walker and Ryan Succop). I know that Wake ended his season on IR. Why do you thing Lewis was released? Why do you think Wake was released, maybe Wake is still injured? … It would appear to me that these cuts are multifaceted decisions but it would appear more leaning towards opening up cap space for the players the Titans would like to retain and players they want to seek in free agency. What is your take on these moves? Thanks again for such great work you do to keep us inform!
Jim: Hi Joan. Thanks for writing in. These moves were made for a number of reasons, but a lot had to do with the high salaries they were due in 2020. Delanie will be missed. In my opinion, he's probably the greatest free agent acquisition by the Titans ever. Ryan Succop had some great years, and an unfortunate ending to his days as a Titan in 2019. Cameron Wake's going to be 38, and I just think the team wants to get younger while getting more productivity there. As for Lewis, well, I think the team can do better at No.2 RB, and he was scheduled to make too much money after not producing much last year. Now it's time to use some of that money to add more players moving forward, guys who can make an impact.
Wayne Tippett from Clayton, North Carolina
Question: Huge Titans fan from NC ever since 98/99 season where I feel in love with #9 and #27, man I loved watching those guys play with heart and passion like no other. Thanks for putting your time into answering questions and keeping us Titans fans informed. I really hope we try to bring Ryan back instead of Tom. You can't overlook how the guys responded with Ryan on the field, we went from here we go again to you better look out cause here come the Titans. My opinion is that at this time in their careers Ryan is the better choice, and one I'd rather have of the 2 options being mentioned. Our O-line stepped it up the second half of the season, but Ryan's mobility was a HUGE benefit for us, mobility that Tom doesn't have! Think Ryan earned his opportunity and should be given the chance to prove he has what it takes and it wasn't a 1 year fluke. Our offense fits him better than where he came from. Please tell them if Tom is signed that the team is going to lose fans, myself included! Thanks for your time.
Jim: Appreciate you chiming in, Wayne.
Jesse Cano from Corpus Christi, Texas
Question: Hey Jim.....This is Chuy coming all the way from South Texas. No question here just wanted to give a BIG THANKS to our AFC South family. Donating to the Nashville disaster to help out families and communities in need....is awesome! Thanks again to the organizations. Thanks Jim....from the #1 Titan fan here in CC Texas!
Jim: Hey Jesse. That was a nice gesture. For those who missed it, the Texans, Jaguars and Colts gave a combined $100,000 to help with the tornado relief efforts.
Brandon Tilley from Johnson City, Tennessee
Question: Hey Jim, it's been since about week 5 or so since I've wrote in (still read every mailbag though) but I felt the need to do so this week. I just wanted to congratulate the man, the myth, and the legend MIKE KEITH! I was so happy for him when I read yesterday that he had been voted into the Tennessee Radio Hall of Fame! If anybody deserves it, its him. He has a one of a kind voice with a one of a kind personality that really just relates to the Titans fans and sometimes after watching a game I'll go look for the "Mike Keith Radio Version" online just to hear him call the game and i know I'm not the only one who has done that. That just shows how special he is and how much he means to all of #TITANNATION. Thanks for all you do Mike! #TITANUP!
Jim: Hey Brandon. Thanks for taking the time. I'll make sure Mike sees this. And you're right – it's well deserved. Mike is a real pro. He's not only great at his job, but he's a great resource for me, and a friend of mine. And he travels all over the state to make appearances for the organization. He's a great ambassador for the team.
Ayman Amin from Nashville, Tennessee
Question: If Ryan Tannehill goes to another team can't the Titans resign Marcus Mariota but not for too much money then resign Derrick Henry and draft a quarterback???
Jim: Because you think Marcus is champing at the bit to sign a contract "for not too much money?" I've said this before and I'll say it again: Marcus is going to want to play for a team where he'll have a chance to get a fresh start, and a chance to be a starter. I don't expect him back with the Titans. I expect the Titans to have a veteran QB as the starter (Ryan Tannehill), and not a draft pick. And I expect Derrick Henry to be back in 2020, either with a new deal or a tag.
Mark Sanderson from Burlington, North Carolina
Question: Hi Jim. Do the Titans have any scouting activity with the XFL for potential free agent signings?
Jim: Hey Mark. Yes. The team has kept an eye on the XFL players, and I've seen a number of guys I'd be interested in. And I'm not sure if you saw this, but the after the XFL canceled the remainder of its season, it gave its players approval to sign with NFL teams any time after they pass exit physicals, according to ESPN. Originally, XFL contracts said players could not sign with NFL teams until after the XFL playoffs.
Houston Jackson from Memphis, Tennessee
Question: Hey Jim first time writer here. I was wondering if you knew why the Titans are giving contracts to the cheaper/not as notable players before the main players like Henry and Tannehill. Is it maybe because the contracts aren't as big so they don't take as long? Thanks for taking your time talking to fans keep up the great work!
Jim: Hey Houston. This was a popular question this week, so I led off this mailbag with William's question. Check the answer on that one. As for Henry and Tannehill, I really do think the questions surrounding the CBA have held things up not just for those guys, but for a lot of players around the league. As long as things are settled on schedule with the CBA, the next week should be crazy.
John Clark from Hampton, Virginia
Question: Hey Jim!!! My question is: Is the staff focusing on our main weaknesses on the team and that our cornerbacks. Our pass coverage is horrible on the outside. I know this Tom Brady hoopla is in the air but who really wants Tom Brady I know I don't he's old and he's not mobile enough to be Qb behind a subpar offense line. I think our main focus should be focusing on 2 good Cornerbacks that can cover the Hopkins, Fitzgerald, Hilton and other big aggressive WR's. Jackson is fast but he gets toasted and roasted by big time WRs Butler is not a solid performer his games are 50/50. Then hopefully they will focus on the Oline and another big WR after that pass rushers.
Jim: Hey John. I do think the cornerback position will be a spot the team addresses in the draft and/or free agency, especially if the team loses some guys. Logan Ryan is a free agent, along with LeShaun Sims, Tye Smith and Tramaine Brock. While you rip the group from year, don't forget the fact the team played without Malcolm Butler for most of the year and Adoree' Jackson was out a long time, too. Those were two of the team's top three corners, and their absences also impacted Logan Ryan. He was asked to do even more while adjusting his role.
Matthew Schuster from Rochester, New York
Question: Could you help me understand these compensatory picks? Why would the Titans not be eligible? Many thanks!
Jim: Hey Matthew. As you know, the Titans didn't get any compensatory picks this year, and I'm sure that's why you're asking. The compensatory selections are given to teams that lose more compensatory free agents than it acquires the previous year. The number of picks a team can receive equals the net loss of compensatory free agents, up to a maximum of four. It's a complicated formula decided by the league, but looking at least year, the Titans acquired veterans Adam Humphries and Rodger Saffold, along with Cameron Wake. Basically, the incomings – and the deals they got -- trumped the outgoings. And here's a tidbit: The Titans have been awarded 30 compensatory picks since they became a thing back in 1994 — that's 11th most in the NFL.
Have a great weekend everyone. Stay healthy and be safe!