The 2019 season has just ended, but ESPN is already looking ahead to the 2020 season with power rankings of all 32 teams, including the Tennessee Titans.
Was the Tennessee Titans’ impressive playoff run during the 2019 season enough to garner some early respect from ESPN in its “way-too-early” power rankings?
As a matter of fact, it was.
According to ESPN, the Titans are the No. 8 team in its power rankings, which puts them ahead of the rest of the AFC South and as the fourth-best team in the conference behind the Kansas City Chiefs (No. 1), Baltimore Ravens (No. 3) and New England Patriots (No. 7).
Of course, you could make a case for the Titans to be ahead of the Patriots and Ravens after they beat both teams in back-to-back weeks in the playoffs, but I guess we’ll just have to take it for now.
Titans beat writer Turron Davenport had this to say in his write-up for the piece.
"Reason for optimism: The Titans have found their identity as an offense and know which quarterback needs to be under center. Obviously, this all revolves around bringing back Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry. But Tennessee has around $55 million in salary-cap space, making it likely that both will return to execute the plan. The Titans also have a valid complimentary passing game with budding star A.J. Brown at receiver."
Chances are both quarterback Ryan Tannehill and running back Derrick Henry will be back in 2020. The Titans will have two tags at their disposal to make that happen, on top of the option of long-term deals.
As ESPN’s Chris Mortensen said on Sunday, “Ryan Tannehill is not leaving the Titans,” so those hoping for a move to bring impending free agent quarterback Tom Brady to Nashville shouldn’t hold their breath for that to happen.
Henry has commented that his wish for a contract is to get what running back Ezekiel Elliot got from the Dallas Cowboys (six years, $90 million), which on the surface is troublesome to hear because I don’t believe the Titans would ever pay that much.
However, it shouldn’t be a surprise that the Alabama product is shooting for the moon ahead of potential negotiations, and even if he’s commanding big money the Titans don’t want to pay, they can easily place the franchise tag on him.
In the end, Tennessee seems to want to get something done with both players, and Tannehill and Henry have expressed their desire to return, so both situations should get worked out.
If general manager Jon Robinson can find a way to bring back Tannehill and Henry, as well as at least one of the other two, the Titans should at least be considered favorites in the AFC South, and at most one of the contenders to get to Super Bowl LV.