The Tennessee Titans have to decide on the fifth-year option on wide receiver Corey Davis in what is a critical offseason.
After the Tennessee Titans lost to the Kansas City Chiefs in heartbreaking fashion in the AFC Championship game, the team immediately was forced into a critical offseason full of big questions.
While the Titans need to focus on key players hitting free agency this year, including Derrick Henry and Ryan Tannehill, there are future decisions the front office will need to make, including whether or not to pick up Corey Davis’ fifth-year option.
The NFL’s fifth-year option allows teams to extend a first-round draft pick an additional year on a rookie contract, although the decision must be made prior to the player’s fourth year. This is generally beneficial for teams to get additional value from their first rounder without dishing out big money.
In 2019, the Titans picked up Marcus Mariota’s fifth-year option, which was played out this season, but declined Jack Conklin’s, making him a free agent this offseason. As May 3rd approaches, the Titans will have to make a key decision on Davis.
Davis, from Western Michigan University, was drafted fifth overall as the first receiver off the board in the 2017 NFL Draft. The Titans were in dire need of wideout help, as the team had no clear No. 1 receiver on the field. His immense size and skill set was supposed to give the Titans a physically imposing threat.
While general manager Jon Robinson will take a good hard look at all of the team’s impending decisions, his decision regarding Davis is going to be crucial. I think the Titans should decline the fifth-year option and allow Davis to play out his contract.
The Titans have gotten mixed results from Davis in his three seasons thus far.
After missing some games early in his rookie season due to injuries, he was able to rake in 34 receptions for 375 yards and didn’t quite live up to the high expectations.
However, Davis had a strong postseason with nine receptions for 98 yards and two touchdowns in two games, giving fans some hope.
The following season, Davis showed more promise with 65 receptions for 891 yards and four touchdowns, with many game-clinching plays, including a game-winning TD catch against the Eagles. Davis and Mariota started to find real chemistry, but that faded in 2019.
Rather than seeing Davis break the 1,000-yard threshold and explode as a top-ten wideout in the league, Davis fell back down. He posted only 43 catches for 601 yards and two touchdowns, and Davis was unable to break free from opposing secondaries and struggled to find real rhythm with either starting quarterback.
Furthermore, rookie WR A.J. Brown exploded onto the scene, setting himself as a clear top choice at the position for the offense. Brown displayed an explosiveness and physicality that Davis never really showed consistently.
The Titans’ cap situation in the next few years will be taken up by the large contracts might give to Henry and Tannehill this offseason. Additionally, Logan Ryan and Conklin, who are also hitting free agency, make up a grand total of 22 players the Titans have to make decisions on this offseason.
Davis will take a sizable $8 million cap hit this season and could make more than that in 2021. I don’t think the Titans are getting that value in return from him.
The Titans have a top-tier receiver already on the roster on a rookie contract now with Brown, and Adam Humphries is a wonderful slot receiver that showed good connection with Tannehill when healthy.
The Titans can look into the free agency to replace Davis in 2021, or sink another draft pick into a receiver, either this year or next.
Even if Davis shows an improvement next season, the Titans will have an ability to extend him during the season. We all hope that Davis can develop into an elite receiver in the NFL, but thus far into his career, he has been far from it.