“Both WR Corey Davis and TE Jonnu Smith are aware that the Titans will not be bringing them back to Nashville,” Russini said on Twitter.
Both WR Corey Davis and TE Jonnu Smith are aware that the #Titans will not be bringing them back to Nashville. Both will hit the free agent market per sources.
— Dianna Russini (@diannaESPN) March 15, 2021
Losing both Davis and Smith is significant for the Titans, but neither loss is catastrophic. Smith and Davis are replaceable.
Davis, the fifth pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, is a talented receiver who did some nice things for the Titans from 2018-2020. However, Davis has proven to be more of a No. 2 receiver than a WR1.
He’s yet to produce a 1,000-yard receiving season, and his production has been somewhat sporadic and inconsistent.
Davis will certainly make his next team better, but he’s not an irreplaceable commodity.
Additionally, re-signing Davis likely would have cost the Titans $13 million on an annual basis. That’s a lot of money to pay for a No. 2 receiver, especially when cheaper and equally effective options will also be available in free agency and the draft.
Smith is probably a smaller loss for the Titans than Davis. Like Davis, he’s proven to be a talented player but lacks consistency.
Re-signing Smith likely would have cost the Titans over $10 million on an annual basis, and that’s just too much money for the level of production Smith gave the Titans from 2019-2020, his two seasons as a full-time starter.
During those two seasons, Smith played in 31 games and recorded just 887 receiving yards. He did catch eight touchdown passes in 2020, but most of those were in the red zone, and touchdowns are rarely an accurate indicator of a receiver’s worth (see: Julio Jones).
Smith did provide the Titans with some versatility due to his blocking ability, but that’s a trait that can be replaced through the NFL Draft.
To say that Davis and Smith are replaceable isn’t to say that they’re not good. Both will provide an offensive boost to their new teams.
But, for the Titans, neither player was worth the big payday they’re going to command.
Cover image: Christopher Hanewinckel / USA Today