If Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Vrabel was hoping for a quiet summer leading a NFL team for the first time, he’s probably not going to get it.
On Tuesday, we learned Titans left tackle Taylor Lewan, who will be an unrestricted free agent after the 2018 season, informed general manager Jon Robinson that he will be skipping Tennessee’s mandatory minicamp (which started on Tuesday). Lewan is hoping to land a contract extension that will make him the highest paid left tackle in the league.
— AtoZSports Nashville (@AtoZSports) June 12, 2018
I can easily see there being some mixed reaction to this development from Titans fans.
On one hand, Lewan is under contract, which means he has a duty to fulfill with the Titans. Regardless of what he’s getting paid, or what he thinks he should be getting paid, he should honor that contract.
But on the other hand, NFL careers are relatively short. Players have a small window to maximize their skills and get lucrative contracts.
Obviously the biggest question now that Lewan is skipping a mandatory minicamp is whether or not this will linger.
I actually don’t think it will be a big issue at all. This minicamp, while mandatory, really isn’t that big of a deal. Lewan is a four year NFL veteran that has reached the Pro-Bowl the last two seasons. Sure, it’s a new offensive scheme, but he’s a professional. Missing one minicamp won’t be the end of the world for him.
Lewan is likely following the advice of his agents by sitting this minicamp out. It’s all about leverage. And it’s clear from the tone of Robinson’s statement that Tennessee wants to do everything in their power to sign Lewan to a longterm contract. There will be some negotiating — some of which won’t be pretty — but eventually a deal is going to get done.
And even if that deal doesn’t get done before the start of the 2018 season, Lewan will still play. It’s not like he’s going to sit out the whole season because the Titans couldn’t work out an extension.
Back in May, Lewan told ESPN “At the end of the day, I’ve got to play ball. I’ve got to be the best left tackle I can be, the best left tackle in the NFL.”
Lewan will be on the field for the Titans this fall. And he’ll be on the field for the Titans in 2019 and beyond.
The optics of sitting out a minicamp aren’t ideal. But it’s part of the process. Lewan loves the Titans and the city of Nashville as much as anyone. He’s ingrained himself in the culture here.
So don’t worry about a missed minicamp in June. The Titans could be dealing with a lot worse at the moment.
Featured image via USA Today