NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Tennessee Titans will not exercise the 2020 fifth-year option on right tackle Jack Conklin’s rookie contract, Adam Schefter reported Wednesday. The deadline for NFL team’s to pick up the options on 2016 first-round picks was May 3.
Conklin, the result of GM Jon Robinson trading out of that year’s first overall pick with the Los Angeles Rams, started every game at right tackle his first two seasons in Nashville and was an All-Pro selection as a rookie. But the former eighth overall pick suffered a torn ACL in the 2017-2018 postseason loss to the New England Patriots and the same injury kept Conklin sidelined for the first three games of the 2018-2019 regular season. After suffering a concussion in the Titans Week 9 win against Dallas and missing the following game, the Michigan State product finished the year on IR with another knee injury.
In total, Conklin missed seven regular season contests in 2018.
Robinson’s decision to decline Conklin’s option was the correct one. The All-Pro rookie year was impressive but inflated by then-coach Mike Mularkey’s use of tight ends kept in-line as additional blockers that allowed for Conklin to not have to individually win one-on-one battles on every play. Once Conklin was left out on an island more often, his production dipped slightly and the Tennessee offensive line suffered as a whole.
Conklin’s injuries further derailed his play and swing tackle Dennis Kelly was the better right tackle, on the whole in 2018.
As the eighth pick in the 2016 Draft, Conklin’s option would have cost the Titans $12.86M, per Joel Corry of CBS Sports; that figure would have given him the 13th-highest annual salary among NFL offensive lineman. So much uncertainty does not warrant that kind of price tag.
Robinson’s 2020 offseason will be rife with big decisions, as the contracts of Conklin, quarterback Marcus Mariota, running back Derrick Henry and safety Kevin Byard are all set to expire at the conclusion of the 2019 season.
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