The Tennessee Titans lost 3 key players last season. Logan Ryan, Jurrell Casey, and Wesley Woodyard. They were all leaders in the locker room. Not only were they leaders, but they were also great players. Jurrell Casey felt the Titan’s organization threw him under the bus. He spoke about it after they traded him to the Denver Broncos for a 7th round pick. He said “The part that is so crazy is that you give so much to a team, especially the way it was going when we were 2-14, 3-13. My mindset was to stick it out, ride with it and things would get better. For us to get to that point to get better and to be the main focus of that and then you just throw me to the trash like I wasn’t a main block of that.” Casey was a leader of men and he was the focal point of the Titans defense for years. I can understand why he felt that way. It’s like the Titans practically traded him away for nothing in return.
We all know that the NFL is a cut-throat business. It’s about money and production. How much can you do for me before you start to decline and get overvalued? The league is a lot different than it was 20 to 30 years ago. Players used to stay with teams for their whole careers. That rarely happens in this day and age. The league is a money maker and the average net worth of an NFL team was 2.95 billion dollars in 2019. There is obviously a salary cap and teams have to stay under that number. Most teams have a 3 to 5-year window to win a Superbowl. The Tennessee Titans are now in that window but at some point, they have to decide how much is the leadership aspect worth? Is it even possible to be loyal to players anymore?
Most critics out there say that JJ Watt is starting to decline. He has had some injuries in his career but last year he played a full season. His production was down but he was still ranked 15th out of 119 qualified pass-rushers in pass rush win rate in 2020. He finished last season with five sacks, two forced fumbles, and an interception that he returned for a touchdown. Given the Titans only had 19 total sacks as a team last season, I would say that Watt would still be an upgrade. I still think Watt has a couple of productive seasons left in him, especially if he is used the right way.
JJ Watt is a true leader in the locker room and offensive coaches are still terrified of him. If the price tag is right, the Titans should definitely make a run for him. You can not put a price on leadership and I think the organization learned that lesson from what happened this past season. Yes, you can blame the coaching, you can blame only dressing three pass rushers a game but I truly believe losing Ryan, Casey, and Woodyard was the main reason for such a decline on defense. It’s time for Jon Robinson and Mike Vrabel to learn from their mistakes, be humble, and go out and get another leader of men like JJ Watt.