One effect of the passage of the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement is the loss of a player tag: teams can use either the franchise tag or the transition tag this offseason, but not both.
One team facing tough decisions is Tennessee, as quarterbacks Ryan Tannehill and Marcus Mariota, running back Derrick Henry and offensive tackle Jack Conklin are all unrestricted free agents.
Without two tags, the Titans can only keep one of them from hitting free agency without coming to contract terms.
The Titans are working to try to sign Henry, which would leave the franchise tag available for use on another player, if needed. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport tweeted Friday that the Titans “plan to bring back Derrick Henry at a big number.”
Quarterback Tom Brady, set to hit free agency for the first time after 20 seasons with the Patriots, also has been mentioned as a possible replacement for Tannehill on a team that many see as ready to compete for a Super Bowl ring.
But on Sunday afternoon, ESPN’s Dianna Russini reported the Titans were “not interested” in Brady and were “working hard to get a deal done” with Tannehill.
The Titans signed Tannehill, a first-round draft pick by the Miami Dolphins in 2012, before the 2019 season to back up Mariota. When Mariota struggled, Tannehill stepped in, going 7-3 as a starter and leading the Titans to the playoffs as the sixth seed as his career was reborn. He was named Comeback Player of the Year in 2019.
Tennessee advanced to the AFC Championship Game, losing to the eventual Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs. Still, at 31, Tannehill was named to his first Pro Bowl as he completed a career high 70.3 percent of his passes for 2,742 yards, throwing for 22 touchdowns and six interceptions.
Henry, 26, had a career year in 2019, leading the NFL in rushing yards (1,540), rushing touchdowns (16) and yards per game (102.7).
The Titans selected him in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft, and he has gained 3,833 yards and scored 38 touchdowns in four seasons. He also was selected to his first Pro Bowl in 2019.
Conklin, 25, was the Titans’ first-round pick in 2016, No. 8 overall. The Michigan State product was named First Team All-Pro as a rookie and has played in 57 games, all starts, with Tennessee.
Should he hit the free agent market, Conklin will draw considerable interest.