Looking at the schedule right now, the Titans are going to have to face a banged-up Cincinnati Bengals team that just started to show signs of life, an intriguing Indianapolis Colts team, and the AFC North-leading Baltimore Ravens.
If the Tennessee Titans play anything like they did in Weeks 1 and 3, then it could get grizzly. Even if they play like they did against the L.A. Chargers in Week 2, a 2-4 record seems more likely than a 3-3 record after that stretch.
For the sake of argument, let's say that the Tennessee Titans enter the bye week with a 2-4 record (or worse). Will that be the point where Mike Vrabel finally realizes that this team needs to go through a rebuild?
If that happens, don't be surprised if a team like the New York Jets calls the Tennessee Titans with an offer according to ESPN's Jeremy Fowler.
"Here's an idea that a league exec floated to me, and I'm curious on your thoughts: Tannehill to the Jets. He'd cost less draft capital than Kirk Cousins. He has a connection with Jets passing game coordinator Todd Downing, a former Titans playcaller. His $27 million salary is modest for a reputable NFL starter. And the Jets just need someone who can get the ball to Garrett Wilson on third down. Tannehill can get that done."
Dan Graziano agreed with this take saying that he made more sense given that Kirk Cousins would be more expensive and that he has a no-trade clause with the Minnesota Vikings. If Cousins believes that he can pump up his stats by throwing to Justin Jefferson for another season and then choose his own destination in 2024, he would be smart to force the Vikings to stick with him.
There are a few reasons why this deal could make sense. Tannehill's contract means that the Jets wouldn't be on the hook for him when Aaron Rodgers gets back, the coaching staff is familiar with Ryan Tannehill, and there were rumors that they had an interest in him before the Aaron Rodgers conversations really took off.
However, the biggest reason why this could work was something completely random. The biggest reason why this makes sense is because both teams have a bye in Week 7.
Timing is crucial for a Tennessee Titans, New York Jets trade
The Jets aren't going to make a move at quarterback right now, but Robert Saleh is reportedly taking a lot of heat for his unflinching support of Zach Wilson. Assuming that Wilson doesn't have a complete career turnaround in the middle of a season where the New York Jets already traded for one veteran quarterback to replace him, there aren't that many quarterbacks on the trade block right now, especially if Cousins isn't waiving his no-trade clause.
That brings us back to the big reason why this is a talking point right now. Ryan Tannehill is the only real option for a team that is looking to trade for a veteran QB.
If a move is made, it will happen after the Week 6 games. If a deal is done quickly, then Tannehill will be able to get to New York quickly and work on learning the Jets offense and getting familiar with the players before the Week 8 matchup.
The schedule sets up perfectly for Tannehill and the Jets in this scenario. In the three weeks following the bye, the Jets play against the New York Giants who have allowed nearly 33 points per game, the L.A. Chargers whom Ryan Tannehill thrived against in Week 2, and the Las Vegas Raiders.
That gives the Jets and Tannehill time to win while building chemistry and getting ready for the second half of the season.
A Tannehill trade gives the Jets a chance to make the playoffs in a surprisingly weak AFC this season, and it gives the Tennessee Titans a way to tank without really saying they are tanking.
To be clear, I'm sure the Tennessee Titans and Mike Vrabel will never get anywhere close to admitting that they are tanking. They will talk about the last time the Titans made a QB change midseason and they will talk about how they want to see what they have in Will Levis and to a much, much lesser degree Malik Willis.
Still, trading Ryan Tannehill would be waving the white flag on the 2023 season and it would almost certainly doom the Tennessee Titans to their worst season since the pre-Jon Robinson days. This will probably be Mike Vrabel's last chance to get a crack at making this roster competitive and he should try to do that with as much draft capital as he can get along with the $100 million in cap space the Tennessee Titans will have next year.