Let's address a series of Tennessee Titans questions that are stewing among the fan base. This weekend's topics include Ndamukong Suh, Marcus Mariota and his unknown backup, and Taylor Lewan's contract situation:
Do you think Titans will wait on Suh or move on if he keeps draggin this out and involving other teams that arent playoff ready like the Jets? #QforCam— Toby Derrow (@derr28) March 23, 2018
Toby, everybody is waiting for the Suh decision. I'm sure Titans general manager Jon Robinson would rather have an answer sooner than later so he can move forward with the rest of his offseason plans, but Suh appears to have the leverage now with multiple suitors. I think the Titans are in the thick of it enough to wait out his decision if it comes Saturday or even several days from now.
Added interest reportedly from the Jets, a fourth contender for Suh along with the Rams, Saints and Titans, could extend a decision timeline. A lot of this will be about balancing money versus where he wants to play, and I'm sure he hopes the team or teams he'd prefer to play for would increase their money offers.
The Titans have made an offer to Suh already. They could always pull out and move on to an option like former Colts nose tackle Johnathan Hankins. And I do believe Hankins would be a good option. But Suh is the best free agent available on a thinning market. Tennessee doesn't need Suh, but he would improve the overall talent on defense. I'd imagine teams will start to get a little antsy, and potentially move on, if Suh tries to extend this thing past next week.
Jets make a big offer to Suh without a meeting ... titans still have a legit chance? -- Timothy John, via Facebook
Timothy, I do think the Titans still have a legit chance. It will come down to Suh's priorities. Tennessee has over $40 million in cap space, up-and-coming playoff talent including playing alongside Pro Bowl defensive lineman Jurrell Casey. It also offers a chance to be the face of a growing defense. The hot chicken and music scene is pretty good in Nashville, too. We'll see if it's enough.
Who will be the backup QB to 8? -- Brandon B. Jones, via Facebook
Well, the Titans had Blaine Gabbert in for a free-agent visit earlier this week. He hasn't signed yet, so it's uncertain whether the team is moving on to other options yet. Chad Henne had a visit, too, before leaving to sign with Kansas City. Geno Smith and Matt Moore could be other backup QB options to watch in what Titans head coach Mike Vrabel described as a "critical position" to fill.
"[We want] a guy that can go in, finish the game for you, win a game, guys that have won in this league," Vrabel said. "You watch the MLB playoffs and the starter gets rocked in the second inning and we’ve got to win the game. And you bring a guy in from the bullpen that’s got to win the game. He’s got to go four or five or six innings, and he can’t just get you out of the game. He’s got to win you the game in the National Football League, just like the playoffs, and so that’s an important position. It’s a guy that’s able to control his emotions throughout the week, of being a backup, but also has the ability and the confidence to go in there and win the game."
The best available options to fill Vrabel's requirement, in my opinion, would be Colin Kaepernick (unlikely), then Moore and Smith. This could be a position where the Titans sign a veteran option they like and draft a developmental QB as a long-term backup in the later rounds.
Any indication on when the titans are gonna extend Lewan? Haven't heard any news recently #qforcam— Adam (@zandermercury) March 23, 2018
Adam, no inclination on exactly "when," but I'd imagine it comes sometime before the 2018 season begins. Last month, I detailed a potential Taylor Lewan extension and why it would likely make him the highest-paid left tackle (with Russell Okung at $13.25 million per year). That price went up when Nate Solder got $15.5 million per year from the Giants. Lewan is better than Solder.
Lewan is under contract for a little under $10 million for the 2018 season on a fifth-year option, but I can't imagine the Titans letting him get to the free-agent market. It's going to be expensive, like real expensive, but it's a price worth paying for an upper-tier left tackle in the NFL.
#qforcam what was your favorite titans moment in the last 10 years that WASNT the Mariota pass to himself— Stephen Morkel (@StephenSnorkel) March 23, 2018
"Favorite" is more of a debate for fans, but I can give you my most memorable Mariota play from the 2017 season: the third-down run in Week 17 vs. Jacksonville where he delivered a stiff-arm to Jaguars safety Barry Church and then went back to stare him down. His teammates loved it. It wasn't in the playoffs, but it essentially clinched a playoff bid and gave a new energy to the Titans and their fan base.
The Titans will have to pay both of them soon, but that's a good problem to have.