Signing Tyler Boyd signals that a new era of Tennessee Titans football is here

Houston Texans v Cincinnati Bengals
Houston Texans v Cincinnati Bengals / Andy Lyons/GettyImages

The Tennessee Titans have signed veteran slot receiver Tyler Boyd to a 1-year, $4.5 million deal.

Less than a year ago Mike Vrabel and Ran Carthon were willing to go into the 2023 season with Treylon Burks, Kyle Philips, and Nick Westbrook-Ikhine as the top three receivers on the roster. Now all three are going to be fighting for a roster spot behind DeAndre Hopkins, Calvin Ridley, and Tyler Boyd.

After largely ignoring wide receiver in the 2024 NFL Draft, the Titans brought in Zay Jones and Tyler Boyd for free agent visits. Zay Jones would have added some much-needed veteran depth to the position, but Boyd was the name that stood out the most because he has an obvious role in this offense.

Guess which receiver in the NFL played the highest percentage of their snaps in the slot last year? You guessed it, Tyler Boyd. This wasn't a one-time thing either, here is where Boyd ranked in the percentage of snaps played in the slot while working with Tennessee Titans Head Coach Brian Callahan during their time together in Cincinnati:

2023: 1st/96
2022: 2nd/102
2021: 2nd/94
2020: 9th/101
2019: 24th/103

It is clear that Tyler Boyd was always someone who did well in the slot, but as soon as the Bengals had Tee Higgins and Ja'Marr Chase together, Boyd made the full-time transition into the slot.

As a Kyle Philips apologist, this is a tough time for me because this almost certainly means that Philips is going to be fighting an uphill battle for his roster spot during OTAs and training camp.

When you look at what each receiver does best, the Titans position-specific WR depth chart looks like this:

XWR: DeAndre Hopkins, Treylon Burks
ZWR: Calvin Ridley, Nick Westbrook-Ikhine
SWR: Tyler Boyd, Kyle Philips/Jha'Quan Jackson (R)

While I am preparing myself for that seemingly impending loss, it is hard not to be excited about what this means for Will Levis and the Tennessee Titans offense.

Before we get into why it is great, let's acknowledge the elephant in the room. Is this the fastest or youngest offense? No, and that does hurt the optics of it a little bit. But it is a group of veteran leaders who know exactly what their role is in this offense and they are going to help Levis learn what the offense should look like.

Remember what the entire goal of the 2024 season is for the Tennessee Titans. This coaching staff and front office needs to know exactly what Will Levis is and they need to have a clear idea of what he is going to develop into.

Giving Will Levis guys who are going to do their job without making rookie mistakes and giving him more protection this season than they did last year, means that it will give them a much better idea of what he is and what he can turn into.

Maybe Treylon Burks turns into a good receiver with a year to learn from an HC/OC who actually understands what a forward pass is, and maybe a backup slot receiver emerges as someone who can eventually take the reigns from Boyd in the future, but no one in that room is going to be forced to grow quickly and that is huge.

Even if Boyd takes a step back and he is just a 600-yard receiver his year, that is still great. As long as he and the other veteran receivers do their job and allow Levis to see what this offense is supposed to look like while a group of young receivers grow in the background, this is an excellent move for the Tennessee Titans.

Ran Carthon went a little rogue in the 2024 NFL Draft, but he has been incredible when it comes to hiring the right head coach, signing the right free agents, and making the right trade. Tennessee Titans fans should be excited for this season.