No one knows whether the Tennessee Titans would consider trading head coach Mike Vrabel, but the media in the Boston area is making it clear that the New England Patriots are going to do everything they can to get him.
Now, there are a few things we need to get out of the way here before we go any further. First, speculating on sources is fine, but no one except the writers knows who their sources are. Even if you are 99.9% sure that someone is the source for an article, you don't know for sure and you can't operate under the assumption that you do know.
Secondly, if Amy Adams Strunk really wants Mike Vrabel to be the Titans coach, there isn't a mechanism in place for him to leave the Titans and coach another NFL team. The league has rules against that, so if she wants him in Nashville then he won't be going anywhere.
Finally, even if Amy Adams Strunk bought billboards around town and said, "Mike Vrabel is the coach of the future!" fans should take it with a grain of salt. Since she has been the majority owner of the team, she has said the same thing about Mike Mularkey and Jon Robinson as recently as the week before a move was made, so keep that in mind.
Alright, with that out of the way, here are the two latest rumors that we have and what I think it all means.
On Thanksgiving, Dianna Russini had an article in The Athletic where she talked about some insider knowledge from around the NFL. In that article, she made it clear multiple high-level people in the Titans building believe that Vrabel is their guy and that they have no intention of trading him.
She says that while ownership isn't happy with how much they are losing right now, they believe he is going to be their leader for years to come.
The other rumor out there is from Greg Bedard of the Boston Sports Journal. That rumor basically suggests that Mike Vrabel and Ran Carthon don't get along and have never gotten along and that Amy Adams Strunk forced the two together with strong influence from the NFL.
He goes on to say that "Vrabel could be looking to force his way out" of Tennessee and that the New England Patriots could be the front runners once the Patriots potentially trade Bill Belichick to one of a handful of teams.
In that article, he cites "league sources" which means that these opinions are shared by multiple people inside the NFL.
What it all means for Mike Vrabel's future
I think what we are seeing here is that the Patriots are making it abundantly clear that they are interested in Mike Vrabel. Between this article and the Ben Volin article a month ago, when insiders are asking around to speculate what the Patriots are going to do to replace Belichick, they are consistently hearing Vrabel's name.
On the flip side, ownership seems to be sending out the message that they believe in Mike Vrabel and that he is their coach of the future. Again though, that really doesn't mean a lot when it is just words considering the Mularkey and Robinson situations.
What I mean by that, is that just because they aren't considering firing him, it doesn't mean that they aren't open to a trade especially if the New England Patriots were willing to give up a king's ransom for him.
Consider this, the Patriots are 2-9 and when you look at their schedule they have maybe one more win in them. Barring a miracle, they are going to end up with a top-5 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. Similarly, the Tennessee Titans look like they have maybe one more win in them this year which means they might also end up with a top-5 pick.
If the Patriots love Mike Vrabel (which seems like the NFL's worst-kept secret at this point) and they get a trade done to send Belichick to a team for a second-round pick or a future first-round pick, then the Patriots would have plenty of ammunition for a trade. The rumor of multiple first-round picks is absurd if they have a top-5 pick, but they could send their top-5 pick to the Titans and a future Day 2 pick in exchange for Vrabel.
Put that together with the rumor that said that the Will Levis draft pick wasn't a Mike Vrabel decision, but it was actually "ownership inspired." Even if Amy Adams Strunk does like Mike Vrabel, the idea of drafting a generational wide receiver in Marvin Harrison Jr. to catch passes from Levis and a blue-chip left tackle in Ola Fashanu to protect Levis, has to be incredibly enticing.
Oh, and she would have her pick of any offensive-minded coach in the league considering that she would have those draft picks and $100 million in cap space for the new coach to shape the roster in any way that he wanted.
The Patriots seem to be probing and the Tennessee Titans don't seem like they are willing to give up Vrabel for cheap.
That tweet from Ben Volin sums it up, and remember that Volin was the one who really broke this story as a possibility. So, until the Patriots have hired a coach to replace Bill Belichick, this move is still absolutely on the table.