Why is the Mike Vrabel decision taking the Tennessee Titans so long?

Jacksonville Jaguars v Tennessee Titans
Jacksonville Jaguars v Tennessee Titans / Wesley Hitt/GettyImages

The Tennessee Titans are an absolute mess from top to bottom.

In three seasons, the Tennessee Titans have gone from the 1-seed, to a seven-win team, to a six-win team, so it makes sense that changes have to be made.

Last year the team hoped that firing then-GM Jon Robinson and bringing in Ran Carthon would give the Tennessee Titans an injection of talent that could push them into playoff contention while also rebuilding. That was an admirable goal, but it wasn't one rooted in any sort of reality.

The reality of the situation is that in the NFL, it is nearly impossible to be good and stay good without dips here and there. The elite teams are able to manage those situations, generally because they have an elite quarterback helping cover up for mistakes.

Instead of rebuilding and reloading at the same time, the Titans didn't get much accomplished (long-term) at all. Free agency was spent bringing in bandaids for current holes and the draft was spent on a class that was designed to just have one Week 1 starter.

We all know what happened after that and now the Tennessee Titans sit at the end of a stretch where they have lost 75% of their games (18 of 24) over the last 14 months. By the way, those roster holes are still there for the most part considering that, it looks like the Tennessee Titans are going to have to try to find 12 new starters next season.

Despite those looming issues, the biggest question that the franchise is facing right now is, "Who will be the head coach next season?" and every minute that goes by it looks less and less likely that the answer will be Mike Vrabel.

Even if you are a fan who is desperate to have Mike Vrabel back next year, what is the best case scenario? This offseason there is going to be a magnifying glass on his job performance like he hasn't had since he was a special teamer with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

It already feels like he has one foot out of the organization and he knows that he is on the hot seat heading into a season where it is unlikely that the Tennessee Titans are going to be able to put it all together and make a playoff run.

If he is back, there are going to be some things that have to change and that could include front office structure, job titles, job resposibilities, assistant coaches, coordinators, etc. And even then we have seen that Amy Adams Strunk could get a wild hair and decide to fire him in the middle of the season like she did with Ken Whisenhunt and Jon Robinson.

If both sides decide that the timelines don't match up and that a split is inevitable, the question becomes, "What do the Tennessee Titans do with Mike Vrabel?"

There has been smoke about a trade to the New England Patriots for months now and that is the best-case scenario for the Tennessee Titans, but there are still things that have to happen. With the Rooney Rule in place, the Patriots would have to officially move on from Bill Belichick and then they would have to interview two external minority candidates for the head coaching job.

Now the Tennessee Titans could hold out and wait for all of that to happen if they knew that they had a deal in place for Mike Vrabel to go to New England if those interviews didn't blow the Patriots away. However, in the meantime other coaching candidates around the league are getting interviews and they are trying to make their decisions.

If the Titans are done with Mike Vrabel and they have a coach that they are in love with right now (let's call him Bobby Slowik) then they have to weigh the trade compensation that they would get for Mike Vrabel against having their best chance at landing "their" (Ran Carthon and Amy Adams Strunk) guy.

That is a decision that the Tennessee Titans have to make, and they need to make it quickly because every hour matters here.

On the other hand, if they are getting a king's ransom and they have a handful of coaching candidates that they like, then they could be incredibly patient here. In that scenario, we might not hear anything official for days because the Titans may be in a holding pattern waiting for the Patriots to fire or trade Bill Belichick first.

For example, what if right now the Patriots are trying to trade Bill Belichick to the Atlanta Falcons? The Falcons are convinced that they have a talented roster, they just need a quarterback and a better coaching staff, so maybe they make a big splash and trade their first-round pick for Bill Belichick and some assorted Patriots picks.

Now the Patriots are offering the Tennessee Titans the 3rd overall pick and a 2024 second-round pick in exchange for Mike Vrabel and a 2025 second-round pick. In this scenario, the Titans end up with the 3rd and 7th picks in the draft, as well as an extra second-round pick this year, while the Patriots end up with the 8th pick in the draft, Mike Vrabel, and a 2025 second-round pick.

The Titans get a blue-chip left tackle and Marvin Harrison Jr., the Patriots get their head coach and can find a quarterback with the 8th pick since they know the Tennessee Titans won't be using either of their picks on a QB, and the Atlanta Falcons get the guy who can finally get the most out of a roster with Drake London, Kyle Pitts, Bijan Robinson, and a very good OL.

That is just a hypothetical scenario, but that is the kind of deal that could cause the Titans to drag their feet. That kind of haul would be revolutionary for the Tennessee Titans and if they like a lot of coaching candidates, but they don't absolutely love one, then this would be the ideal strategy.

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