The year 2020 has taken everything from us. It took March Madness, graduation and wedding ceremonies, and summer traveling. And for Titans fans, Jurrell Casey. All the other things were heartbreaking in its own right, but Casey being traded by the Tennessee Titans was extremely heartbreaking for many Titans fans.
Quite frankly, the move came out of nowhere. There were zero rumors or whispers that the Titans were shopping the five-time Pro Bowler. Yet, he was abruptly sent to the Denver Broncos for, a first rounder? No. A Pro Bowl player in return? Nope. A 7th rounder? Ding ding ding!
It was a strange day in Titans history. However, things got more interesting when Casey blasted the Titans, explaining how he made sacrifices for the team during its abysmal 2-14 and 3-13 days, only to be “thrown away like a piece of trash.” From my understanding, the Titans did not even talk to their Pro Bowler about possibly helping the team gain more cap space.
Casey was a beloved Titan not only on the field but in the community. So it was an emotional day in the Titans community, and the immediate reasoning most Titans fans went to after he was traded was it was cap dump to sign top free agent Jadeveon Clowney.
Although that seems logical, I think that statement is partially true. Yes, it was cap dump. Casey’s cap hit is around $13.4M in 2020, and in the trade, the Broncos took on that cap hit, freeing up that $13M for the Titans.
The Titans used that extra room to sign both Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry. And given that the move opens up cap space in future years as well, it paves the way for guys like Jonnu Smith and Jayon Brown to be re-signed as well.
But also, it was for defensive lineman Jeffery Simmons. This is the least popular route taken in the argument for why Casey was traded, but it makes the most sense. Casey is 30 years old, and although I can’t confidently say Casey was trending down in production, he was due to regress at any point.
The Titans, knowing this, grabbed Simmons in the first round of the 2019 draft, and allowed him to heal his injury and learn from the master Casey himself for a season. Now that Simmons is ready to rock and roll, Casey became a casualty to relieve cap and open the door for Simmons, who is younger and cheaper, to shine.
Jeffery Simmons is Jon Robinson’s guy. He was drafted in the first round for a reason, and that wasn’t to compliment Casey. It was to replace Casey. Robinson decided to trade away Casey before the inevitable regression started, a very Patriots-esque move, and give Simmons the keys.
But still, you would think he could get a little more for Casey than a 7th rounder, even if he has a large cap hit. That’s something we will never understand. Who knows what was said in negotiations between the Tennessee Titans and Denver Broncos, but I can assure you the move means the Titans are all in on big Jeff.
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