If the Tennessee Titans want to compete for anything in 2023, they should avoid creating more holes in their roster. Case and point, Mike Vrabel and Ran Carthon have decided to release Pro Bowl center Ben Jones.
For the better part of a decade, Ben Jones was a rock in the middle of the Tennessee Titans’ offensive line, and that is a big deal when you consider the identity of this team.
Not only was he one of the best centers in the NFL over that time, but he was also a locker room leader and one of the few players that drew public praise from Mike Vrabel.
He raised the bar for toughness in the organization, but his physical presence was only half of his value.
Jones spent his career telling the revolving door of offensive linemen around him what they were supposed to do, and teammates raved about his intelligence.
There was speculation about whether Ben Jones would retire or try to play another season after multiple concussions pushed him to I.R. late in the season. Buck Reising broke the news that Ben Jones was given the option to retire or to continue his career, and when he didn’t retire the Tennessee Titans cut him.
That is pretty shocking considering that the move doesn’t really save the Titans that much money (less than $4 million) and it creates another immediate hole on this roster.
What is next for the Tennessee Titans offensive line?
This new Ran Carthon/Mike Vrabel combination seems to be willing to move on from anyone whether that means trying to trade Derrick Henry (according to other NFL GMs) or getting rid of the heart of that offense in Ben Jones.
While Nate Davis could return next season, it isn’t a great sign for him that Ben Jones wanted to play and the Titans decided to move on.
Jones retiring is one thing, but the Titans kicking him off the team is another. We are inching closer and closer to officially being in rebuilding territory. As it stands right now, the Tennessee Titans will walk into free agency with around $26 million in cap space and four offensive line spots that need to be filled.
On the bright side, I think this means that Corey Levin will be back and penciled in as a starter, which is something that I have been interested in for years now. For the sake of argument let’s assume that he is brought back on a 2-year/$5 million deal and that $4 million of that is money due in 2024 when the Tennessee Titans have $152 million in cap space (another important part of this rebuild).
That means that the Titans are still looking for three starters on the offensive line and they aren’t going to be able to address everything in free agency. I still argue that the best way to fix this line is by signing two players from this free agent class and then going with the best offensive lineman on the board with the 11th pick.
However, if Derrick Henry and Ryan Tannehill are on other rosters by the end of the weekend, all bets are off and things are about to get truly chaotic in Nashville.