Will Tennessee Titans reunite Mike Vrabel and DeAndre Hopkins

Tennessee Titans (Mandatory Credit: The Tennessean)
Tennessee Titans (Mandatory Credit: The Tennessean) /

The Tennessee Titans’ offense is going to get an overhaul this year, and they are going to have to figure out exactly what they want to be.

This is going to be a team that takes the absolute identity of what Mike Vrabel wants to be. Despite agreeing early in their relationship, Jon Robinson and Vrabel seem to have had issues agreeing on different things recently and that led to a fracture in the team.

While collaboration is a buzzword going around, the Titans restructured the organization so that Vrabel doesn’t have to answer to the next GM when making roster moves. That, along with having a hand in hiring the GM and hiring a new OC, means that this is going to be the most transparent view we have ever had of what Vrabel wants the Tennessee Titans to be.

As for the offensive identity, he has said time and time again that the running game is the key to winning in the NFL, and it has gotten to the point where an average passing volume would be a massive improvement.

For example, in 2022 the Tennessee Titans threw the ball 456 times which was the third-fewest number of attempts in the NFL. The league average was 571, which is about seven more passes per game.

However, if the offensive overhaul extends to coaching philosophy and they do become a team that throws the ball at an average rate, it makes sense to invest in a receiver.

Yesterday news broke that ownership for the Arizona Cardinals is making it clear to GM candidates that they plan on trading All-Pro WR DeAndre Hopkins this offseason. Is he a fit for the Tennessee Titans’ new-look offense?

Tennessee Titans have to be careful with Hopkins

The short answer is, no. At least not with his current price tag.

Any trade for Hopkins would have to be contingent on signing a new deal that reduced his cap hit to a manageable level through whatever means necessary.

Another thing to factor in is that this is public knowledge and given his age, I think the trade compensation is more likely to be similar to the Amari Cooper trade than the Tyreek Hill trade.

So, if there is a new deal and the compensation doesn’t involve a top-100 pick, then I can see the Tennessee Titans being very interested. Then again, wouldn’t every team take a chance on him at that price?

The obvious answer is yes, but there is a wrinkle here that makes this situation different from others. DeAndre Hopkins has a no-trade clause meaning that he gets final approval on any trade and he can basically pick where he wants to go. That is why the relationship between Vrabel and Hopkins is important.

Mike Vrabel spent four years with Hopkins with the Houston Texans and has been very complimentary of the pass catcher.

That is something that has gone both ways, he said this about Vrabel after the Tennessee Titans hired him as the Head Coach:

"“I had a lot of interaction with him,” Hopkins said. “He’s one of those guys you could talk to off the field, not just about football, but personal stuff. Vrabel was good to me. It wasn’t just a football relationship with him, it was a personal relationship. Guys could relate to him.“He’s a great guy. He’s not just a good coach, but he’s a good guy. He can relate to his players. The Titans are lucky to have him.”"

Hopkins tore his MCL in 2021, but other than that he has never missed an extended stretch of time due to an injury. He played in 15+ games for eight-straight seasons to start his career, and if not for a PED suspension this year he would have reached that mark again this year.

The move has some risk to it, but it isn’t the same as the Julio Jones trade. Hopkins is younger than Julio was when the Titans made the move for him and the team is going to have much more cap space now.

Now that Mike Vrabel is in charge, he is going to load the roster with his guys. I don’t think Titans fans would strongly support any trade for Hopkins where a top-100 pick was used or where his cap hit wasn’t reduced, but if those concerns are addressed this does make a lot of sense.

The wide receiver market looks weak in free agency this year and the Tennessee Titans’ first pick in the draft will probably be spent on an offensive lineman, so from an evaluation standpoint it makes sense.

Also, if they want someone to help guide Treylon Burks into becoming a little bit more physical without getting caught by the officials, then Hopkins would be the perfect player to work with him.

All in all, it is a move that helps the team immediately, sets any future rookie quarterback up for success, and doesn’t stunt the growth of young pass catchers like Treylon Burks, Chig Okonkwo, and Kyle Philips. The only thing that should concern fans is the price tag.