NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The Titans ended up on the wrong side of a win-or-go-home game on Sunday and now look to the future.
The team cleaned out their lockers this afternoon and said goodbye to a season no one will ever forget.
With all the challenges this year brought, from COVID outbreaks to social justice movements, players say it had a galvanizing effect and brought the group together.
But, this group won’t exist next season as a handful of contracts expire and tough decisions loom.
On offense, the free agent notables include wide receiver Corey Davis and tight end Jonnu Smith. On defense, expiring contracts are that of Jayon Brown, DaQuan Jones and Desmond King. As for special teams, kicker Stephen Gostkowski signed a one-year contract in 2020 making his future uncertain.
“Guys that you really care about, that you love playing the game with, that you enjoy coming to work each and every day might not be here next year and that’s just the way it goes,” said quarterback Ryan Tannehill who signed a 4-year $118 million dollar contract in 2020. “It’s a tough, tough feeling.”
Perhaps the biggest difference we’ll see will be on the defensive side of the ball as it was unit that finished last in sacks and third-down percentage, and ranked near or at the bottom in most statistical categories.
“The defense is going to look a lot different next year, that’s just the way the business of the NFL works,” said Titans safety Kevin Byard, who admitted his game needs to improve. “For the new guys that’s going to come in here and they guys who are in this building right now, the standard has to be a lot higher.”
Off-season changes don’t just involve players.
“We’re going to look to build a new team in 2021,” said Mike Vrabel. “There’s going to be some players that are new and there will be some that look the same. There are coaches that will be different, the front office may look differently, that’s just the nature of it. But, we have high expectations here every year.”
According to ESPN, hours after the Titans’ season ended at the hands of the Ravens, offensive coordinator Arthur Smith was reportedly interviewing for a head coaching position within the division, and has interviews set up with six teams.