The Tennessee Titans still do not have a clear direction for the 2023 season and on Monday, Mike Vrabel declined to commit to much of anything.
Despite the NFL landscape changing every day, the Titans remain largely the same.
Of course, there have already been drastic changes to the roster including a facelift for the offensive line. However, marquee players like Derrick Henry, Ryan Tannehill, Kevin Byard, and Jeffery Simmons remain on the roster despite their murky futures.
To tank or not to tank, that is the question… kind of.
Whether or not the Titans decide to move on from their biggest play-makers is the real question, but it does feel like this is the existential crossroads that Mike Vrabel eluded to last season.
Nobody would ever have the courage to ask Vrabel about dismantling the roster outright, but the media is tiptoeing around that question. When reporters ask about the starting quarterback, they are often hinting at the overall direction that a franchise is going.
So what did Mike Vrabel say when asked about Ryan Tannehill’s future:
"“We’re in March. We’re continuing to build the best football team we can.”"
Not what I would call a glowing endorsement. But Vrabel continues,
"“I’m not going to commit to anybody being on our roster in September. I’ve just seen it change too quickly. But of course we want Ryan [Tannehill] as our quarterback and anybody else that has helped us win.”"
Ryan Tannehill was hoping for a redemption arc last season after the disastrous collapse in the 2022 playoffs. That did not happen.
Tannehill’s season hit a speed bump before the first game when A.J. Brown was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles on draft night. Unsurprisingly, the offense struggled mightily. Not only did Tannehill lack weapons, protection, or proper coaching, but just as the team was hitting its stride, an injury derailed his season.
The Tennessee Titans were 6-6 in the 12 games that Tannehill played last season and 1-4 in the games where he didn’t play.
With this in mind, the direction that the Tennessee Titans take this season hinges largely on what the team decides to do with the 34-year-old quarterback.
Recently, interesting odds have come out of Vegas that may offer insight into who could be the Tennessee Titans quarterback next year. The two most notable names are Lamar Jackson and Will Levis.
The Titans are at +700 odds to land Lamar Jackson which makes Nashville the 4th most likely destination, tied with Washington.
However, the current most likely team (outside of Baltimore which is not included in the odd making) is the division rival Colts at +250. Lamar Jackson landing with Indianapolis is a thought bound to send shivers down the spines of Titans fans.
And what are the odds that the Tennessee Titans draft Will Levis? +600.
These odds have shot up drastically since Mike Vrabel and other Titans team members attended Kentucky’s pro day. At these odds, the Titans are the 3rd most likely landing spot for Levis. Who is ahead?
You guessed it, the Indianapolis Colts at +350.
With all this in mind, it seems that the future of the Tennessee Titans (and possibly the entire AFC South) is up in the air.
Do the Titans stick with what they know with Ryan Tannehill, or do they go in a different direction with Jackson or Levis? Can they allow a division rival to “win” the arms race for the next quarterback?
Since the quarterback market has dried up quickly, that would suggest Tannehill sticks with the Titans next year (maybe longer), especially since his contract has become one of the most economical in the league.
Still, a rookie deal would be even cheaper, and if money isn’t an issue can they afford not to go after Lamar Jackson?
In the end, it is hard to decipher if the Tennessee Titans have any real interest in any quarterbacks besides Ryan Tannehill. Since Ran Carthon and Mike Vrabel probably do not even know the answer to that question, it is like trying to guess the end of a story that the author hasn’t even written yet.
Like with everything this offseason, we are all waiting to see what happens next as the 2023 NFL Draft rapidly approaches.