The Tennessee Titans’ 2020 off-season essentially started when Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Sammy Watkins reeled in a 60 yard touchdown pass from Patrick Mahomes on Sunday afternoon.
Tennessee didn’t go quietly after the Watkins touchdown, but it was absolutely the dagger in the Titans’ 2019 season.
The Titans’ 35-24 loss to the Chiefs ended an unlikely playoff run that should make Tennessee fans proud.
This might be a time of reflection for some, but I’m of the mindset that you get back to work and immediately start prepping for the off-season.
And I imagine that’s exactly what general manager Jon Robinson is doing.
The Titans’ first order of business in the off-season is to figure out exactly what they’re going to do at the quarterback position. They’re in an interesting position. The Titans obviously know they’re moving on from Marcus Mariota. But the emergence of Ryan Tannehill this season means there’s several ways the Titans could proceed at quarterback.
They could let Tannehill go in free agency and go full rebuild with a young, cheaper quarterback or a free agent (Phillip Rivers or Tom Brady?). Or they could sign Tannehill to a longterm contract.
Or they could franchise tag Tannehill and end up in this situation again a year from now.
If I’m Robinson, I’m going with the franchise tag option.
I don’t think Tannehill should be considered a longterm option for the Titans. I barely think he’s the right option for them next season.
Tannehill is 31 years old. He has a body of work that stretches back to 2012. We pretty much know who he is as a quarterback. And he’s not the savior of a franchise.
Sure, Tannehill is better than Miami thought he was, but he’s probably not as good as Titans fans thought he was a few weeks ago.
Tannehill is good enough to provide a spark at times. He’s good enough to help a pretty good team get to the AFC Championship game. But when it comes to winning a championship, he’s never going to be the best quarterback on the field.
And the team with the best quarterback is usually the team hoisting the Lombardi Trophy at the end of the season.
— AtoZSports Nashville (@AtoZSports) January 20, 2020
The Titans are in a position where they have a team that’s built to win a Super Bowl. They just don’t necessarily have the quarterback. They can’t afford to waste this window of opportunity, but they also need to address the quarterback situation so they don’t go through another stretch of up-and-down seasons like they did from 2009-2015.
That’s why Tennessee’s best bet is to bring Tannehill back for the 2020 season (which would provide some continuity on offense) and draft a young quarterback to groom to be their franchise quarterback.
Of course, that’s easier said than done — especially when the Titans have the No. 29 overall selection. But it can be done (just ask the Baltimore Ravens).
Perhaps there’s a situation where the Titans can move up a few spots to grab a quarterback (there will be plenty of time to talk about who they could draft later this off-season). The Titans have several needs they’ll need to address in the draft and free agency (an offensive tackle to replace Jack Conklin and an edge rusher for starters), but I think identifying a quarterback in the draft that can lead the franchise for years to come should be the top priority.
There’s no position on the field more important than quarterback. The Titans aren’t going to win a Super Bowl until they have an elite signal caller.
Ryan Tannehill might not help the Titans win a Super Bowl, but he can bridge the gap until they find the quarterback that can.
They might as well start their journey to finding that quarterback this off-season.
Featured image via Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports