NASHVILLE, Tenn. — If it hadn’t already, the Vic Beasley saga has, now, officially reached the point of absurdity, and the Tennessee Titans should be close to their breaking point.
Thursday marked, for Beasley, his deadline to signal an “opt-out” due to the coronavirus, which he did not do, and the 10th day of camp that he has missed, which brings his minimum fine total to an expected $500,000.
If 10 unexcused days of missed practice with seemingly no explanation isn’t enough to get Titans GM Jon Robinson to say “enough is enough” and part ways with Beasley, it’s fair to wonder if anything will.
Vic Beasley has royally screwed the Titans. Whether he comes back & plays, the team/organization shouldn’t trust him. He hasn’t earned that. If he doesn’t report & forces them to cut him, the Titans take an unwanted cap hit which hinders their chances at Jadeveon Clowney #Titans
— Zach Bingham (@Bada_Bingham) August 6, 2020
A CULTURE PROBLEM
The Titans would, of course, be a better football team with Beasley on the roster than without him. That’s not the issue, here.
The issue is that Beasley has already proven to stand against everything that the Titans stand for as an organization, a feat he’s managed to accomplish without ever actually stepping foot in the team facility.
Robinson frequently preaches the importance of having a “team-first” culture and building the locker room with players who buy into that mantra with their entire beings.
What kind of message does it send to the players who are actively trying to act selflessly and give their all for the team when a player who is, essentially, peeing on that philosophy faces no recourse outside of the fines mandated by the NFLPA’s collective bargaining agreement?
I’ll spoil the answer for you: a really, really bad one.
WHERE, EVEN, IS HE?
So far, the only information the Titans have provided to the public about Beasley are generic statements in which they’ve declared that, while his absence is unexcused, they’re excited to get him in the building, whenever that happens.
“We still look forward to getting him in here and coaching him when he gets here,” head coach Mike Vrabel said on Wednesday. “I want to coach him and want him to be a part of this football team.”
While that statement, which sounds like a Sunday school teacher welcoming a sick kid back to church, is undoubtedly the censored version of how the Titans actually feel, that’s all that fans, the media, and, probably, a lot of players have to go off of.
Yet, the most bizarre thing of all with this situation is that no explanation has been provided as to where Beasley is or why he has yet to report. Not from Beasley, not from Beasley’s agent and not from the Titans, who are probably as far in the weeds on that front as all of us.
A few days into Training Camp, there was some speculation that Beasley may have been attending the funeral of a relative who passed away, but the ship has long since sailed on that being the reason behind his absence.
THE PROBLEM OF $$$
All of this leaves the Titans in a rather unenviable position, financially.
If they do throw up their arms and decide to release Beasley, his $6 million signing bonus will count against their salary cap regardless of what happens in arbitration, where the Titans could, theoretically, get that money back for the future.
Still, it’s a small price to pay for a team that still has plenty of cap space to make some last-minute additions before Training Camp, even if one of those additions happened to be Jadeveon Clowney.
Robinson has, in the past, been humble and swift about admitting and moving on from his mistakes. Luckily for the Titans, he hasn’t made many, but this is certainly one, and it’s one he probably needs to go ahead and move on from.
Beasley is an above-average player, at best, who hasn’t produced at a high level since 2016. He’s not good enough to get away with acting like this.
Unless something is going on, here, that everyone is missing, the Titans need to cut their losses and preserve the team-first culture that nearly propelled them to the Super Bowl in 2019.
UPDATE: Beasley reported to Training Camp on the morning of Friday, August 7, one day after this column was originally published.
Cover image: Dale Zanine/USA Today