Titans Rumors

Titans Cut QB Austin Davis

The Titans have cut reserve quarterback Austin Davis, according to Field Yates of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Davis was signed prior to the team’s Week 17 game when Marcus Mariota was sidelined by injury. 

Blaine Gabbert wound up starting, and finishing, the Titans’ final game of the season The 33-17 Colts romp vanquished the Titans’ playoff hopes, meaning that Davis never took a snap in Tennessee.

Davis, 30 in June, has 16 career games and ten starts under his belt. He’s 3-7 in those starts, with the bulk of his action coming in 2014 as a member of the Rams. Ex-Rams QBs Nick Foles and Case Keenum found success outside of the organization, but Davis is still waiting for his moment to shine.

In addition to the Rams, Davis has suited up for the Browns and Seahawks. However, he did not take a snap while in Seattle in 2017.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Titans Add Todd Downing To Coaching Staff

The Titans have added a former offensive coordinator to their staff. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports (via Twitter) that the team has hired Todd Downing as their new tight ends coach.

Downing, 38, had a brief stint as the Raiders offensive coordinator back in 2017. While his experience is limited, he’ll still be able to provide Arthur Smith with some guidance. Smith was promoted to the Titans’ offensive coordinator role earlier this week after having spent the past eight seasons with the organization (including the past three as the tight ends coach).

Downing was fired by the Raiders organization following the 2017 campaign, and he was subsequently hired as the Vikings tight ends coach. The coach played a significant role in Kyle Rudolph‘s productive campaign (64 receptions, 634 yards, four touchdowns), and he also helped play a role in David Morgan and Tyler Conklin‘s emergence. While the duo didn’t do much in the passing game, they rated out as above-average blocking tight ends in 2018 (per Pro Football Focus).

The coach will be joining a talented tight ends corps in Tennessee. Delanie Walker missed the majority of the 2018 season with an ankle injury, but he had compiled at least 800 receiving yards in each of the previous four seasons. The team is also rostering former third-rounder Jonnu Smith, who finished this past season with 20 receptions for 258 yards and three touchdowns.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Titans Hire Arthur Smith As OC

The Titans hired Arthur Smith as their new offensive coordinator, the team announced on Monday. Smith previously served as the team’s tight ends coach, but he’s getting a title and pay bump to run the team’s offensive attack.

I am excited for Arthur and for our team to be able to elevate a deserving coach,” head coach Mike Vrabel said in a statement. “I was impressed throughout the season in game plan meetings with his ideas, in-game with his understanding of situations and the ability to get the most out of his position group. We spent a good bit of time last week talking about this opportunity. He has a great deal of familiarity with our players and the continuity of the offense will allow our players to continue to develop and improve.”

The Titans are certainly hoping that Smith can get the most out of their group – Smith will serve as the team’s fifth OC since Marcus Mariota was drafted in 2015. With that in mind, Smith’s promotion is a sign that they will give Mariota every chance to succeed as he goes into the final year of his rookie deal.

Matt LaFleur ran the Titans’ offense in 2018, but he left to become the new head coach of the Packers. LaFleur brought youth and energy to the role, but Smith offers more in the way of NFL experience. Before working under Vrabel, Smith served on staffs under Mike Mularkey, Ken Whisenhunt, and Mike Munchak.

Titans To Add Outside Linebacker Help?

  • The Titans’ defense looked really solid at times this season, but could use some extra pass-rushers, according to Jim Wyatt of the team’s official site. Wyatt feels “certain” that the Titans will add outside linebacker help this offseason. Wyatt notes that with Brian Orakpo retiring and Derrick Morgan not a lock to be brought back next year, Mike Vrabel’s unit will need some reinforcements at outside linebacker.

2019 Offensive/Defensive Coordinator Tracker

While eight NFL teams are making a head coaching change this offseason, the number of clubs replacing offensive and/or defensive coordinators figures to be much higher than that. In addition to all those teams hiring new head coaches, who may want to bring in their own assistants, several clubs also figure to make changes on one side of the ball or the other after getting disappointing results in 2018. And, of course, the teams whose coordinators landed head coaching jobs will need to replace them.

With reports circulating on potential candidates, interview requests, and actual meetings, we’ll use the space below to keep tabs on all the latest updates on teams hiring new offensive and/or defensive coordinators. This post, which will be updated daily, can be found under the “PFR Features” menu on the right-hand side of the site.

[Updated: 2/20/19, 8:26am CT]

Offensive Coordinators

Arizona Cardinals (Out: Byron Leftwich)

Atlanta Falcons (Out: Steve Sarkisian)

Baltimore Ravens (Out: Marty Mornhinweg)

  • Greg Roman, assistant head coach/tight ends (Ravens): Promoted

Cincinnati Bengals (Out: Bill Lazor)

Cleveland Browns (Out: Freddie Kitchens)

  • Todd Monken, former offensive coordinator (Buccaneers): Hired
    • Head coach Freddie Kitchens will call plays.
  • Jim Bob Cooter, former offensive coordinator (Lions): Interviewed

Dallas Cowboys (Out: Scott Linehan)

Denver Broncos (Out: Bill Musgrave)

  • Rich Scangarello, quarterbacks coach (49ers): Hired
  • Gary Kubiak, former head coach (Broncos): Will not be hired

Detroit Lions (Out: Jim Bob Cooter)

  • Darrell Bevell, former offensive coordinator (Seahawks): Hired
  • Nathaniel Hackett, former offensive coordinator (Jaguars): Interviewed
  • Todd Monken, former offensive coordinator (Buccaneers): Interviewed
  • Steve Sarkisian, former offensive coordinator (Falcons): Mentioned as candidate

Green Bay Packers (Out: Joe Philbin)

  • Nathaniel Hackett, former offensive coordinator (Jaguars): Hired
    • Head coach Matt LaFleur will call plays.
  • Mike McDaniel, run game coordinator (49ers): Mentioned as candidate
  • Todd Monken, former offensive coordinator (Buccaneers): Interviewed

Houston Texans 

  • Tim Kelly, tight ends coach (Texans): Promoted

Jacksonville Jaguars (Out: Scott Milanovich)

Miami Dolphins (Out: Dowell Loggains)

  • Chad O’Shea, wide receivers coach (Patriots): Hired

Minnesota Vikings

New York Jets (Out: Jeremy Bates)

  • Dowell Loggains, former offensive coordinator (Dolphins): Hired
    • Head coach Adam Gase will call plays.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Out: Todd Monken)

Tennessee Titans (Out: Matt LaFleur)

  • Arthur Smith, tight ends coach (Titans): Promoted

Washington Redskins (Out: Matt Cavanaugh)

  • Kevin O’Connell, quarterbacks coach (Redskins): Promoted
    • Cavanaugh re-assigned as senior offensive assistant.

Defensive Coordinators

Arizona Cardinals (Out: Al Holcomb)

Atlanta Falcons (Out: Marquand Manuel)

Chicago Bears (Out: Vic Fangio)

Cincinnati Bengals (Out: Marvin Lewis)

Cleveland Browns (Out: Gregg Williams)

Denver Broncos (Out: Joe Woods)

  • Ed Donatell, secondary coach (Bears): Hired

Kansas City Chiefs (Out: Bob Sutton)

Miami Dolphins (Out: Matt Burke)

  • Patrick Graham, linebacker coach/run game coordinator (Packers): Hired
  • Bret Bielema, consultant to the head coach (Patriots): Mentioned as candidate

New England Patriots (Out: Brian Flores)

  • Greg Schiano, former defensive coordinator (Ohio State): To be hired

New York Jets (Out: Kacy Rodgers)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Out: Mark Duffner)

  • Todd Bowles, former head coach (Jets): Hired

2019 Proven Performance Escalators

According to the NFL’s contractual bargaining agreement, players drafted in rounds three though seven are entitled to raises during the fourth year of their respective rookie contracts. The pay bumps are tied to playing time — a player must have played in 35% of his team’s offensive or defensive snaps in two of his first three seasons, or averaged 35% playing time cumulatively during that period.

If one of these thresholds is met, the player’s salary is elevated to the level of that year’s lowest restricted free agent tender — that figure should be around $2MM in 2019. Players selected in the first or second round, undrafted free agents, and kickers/punters are ineligible for the proven performance escalator.

Here are the players who will see their salary rise in 2019 courtesy of the proven performance escalator:

Bears: RB Jordan Howard, LB Nick Kwiatkoski

Bengals: LB Nick Vigil

Broncos: G Connor McGovern, S Will Parks, S Justin Simmons

Browns: S Derrick Kindred, LB Joe Schobert

Buccaneers: G Caleb Benenoch, DE Carl Nassib, CB Ryan Smith

Chargers: LB Jatavis Brown

Chiefs: CB Kendall Fuller, WR Tyreek Hill, S Eric Murray, WR Demarcus Robinson

Colts: QB Jacoby Brissett, T Joe Haeg

Cowboys: CB Anthony Brown, DT Maliek Collins, QB Dak Prescott

Dolphins: RB Kenyan Drake

Eagles: CB Jalen Mills, T Halapoulivaati Vaitai

Falcons: LB De’Vondre Campbell, TE Austin Hooper, G Wes Schweitzer

Jaguars: DE Yannick Ngakoue

Jets: LB Jordan Jenkins, CB Rashard Robinson, T Brandon Shell

Lions: C Graham Glasgow

Packers: LB Kyler Fackrell, DE Dean Lowry, LB Blake Martinez, LB Antonio Morrison

Patriots: G Joe Thuney, LB Elandon Roberts

Rams: G Austin Blythe, TE Tyler Higbee

Ravens: DE Matt Judon, OL Alex Lewis, CB Tavon Young

Saints: DT David Onyemata

Steelers: DT Javon Hargrave

Texans: DT D.J. Reader

Titans: S Kevin Byard, WR Tajae Sharpe

OverTheCap.com was essential in the creation of this post. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images. 

Titans To Keep Some Of LaFleur's Concepts?

Matt LaFleur‘s defection to Green Bay leaves Tennessee without an offensive coordinator. They have not conducted any known interviews and are operating deliberately. GM Jon Robinson and Mike Vrabel have met several times this week discussing what the best course of action should be, so interviews are likely coming soon. Whichever way the Titans go, they will be asking Marcus Mariota to learn a fourth offensive system in his five-year career. Ken Whisenhunt ran the Titans’ offense in 2015, before being fired, then Mike Mularkey took over before giving way to LaFleur. Robinson appears to want to retain some of LaFleur’s concepts, however.

Titans DC Dean Pees To Return In 2019

Titans defensive coordinator Dean Pees informed the team that he intends to return to the team for the 2019 season, Jim Wyatt of the team’s website writes

In November, the 69-year-old coordinator was taken to the hospital for a “medical issue” but returned to the team the following day and didn’t miss a game the rest of the season. At the end of the 2017 season, Pees was expected to retire when he left the Ravens but joined the Titans’ staff a month later as the team’s new defensive coordinator under first-year head coach Mike Vrabel.

In his first season with the team, Pees led the Titans to the No. 3-ranked scoring defense and the unit allowed the eighth-fewest yards. That was the first time Tennessee ranked in the top 10 in both categories since the Jeff Fisher-led squad went 13-3 in 2008. In December, Pees’ unit registered a 17-0 win over the Giants for the team’s first shutout since the 2000 campaign.

A longtime defensive coordinator in New England (2006-09) and Baltimore (2012-17), Pees boasts 46 years of coaching experience and a handful of top-10 units.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Reserve/Futures Contracts: 1/2/19

Here are Wednesday’s reserve/futures contract moves:

Cleveland Browns

Cincinnati Bengals

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Minnesota Vikings

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Washington Redskins


* = part of the NFL’s International Player Development Program