The Titans sound like they’re resigned to losing Corey Davis and Jonnu Smith in free agency. GM Jon Robinson says he’d like to re-sign both, but that it will come down to dollars.
Both are starter-caliber guys. Smith (pictured) is probably one of the league’s 20 best tight ends, and Davis is probably one of the top 50 wide receivers. But the Titans have plenty of other areas to address (most notably, they need more pass-rush ability), and they don’t sound interested in breaking the bank for either of these players.
“I had the same conversation at the end of the season with those guys that I had with Jack Conklin a year ago: ‘You’ve done everything we’ve asked of you here, and we’re going to be competitive in trying to keep you, but at the end of the day you’re going to have a decision to make if you have suitors with other teams,’” Robinson says. “I had that same discussion with those two guys, and we’ll see what we can figure out.”
Conklin (a right tackle) signed a big free-agent deal last year with the Browns.
The Titans selected Davis with a top-5 overall pick, and he’s never come close to playing to that kind of a level. He’s had problems staying healthy, and he simply hasn’t been that good. He helped his cause last season by putting up the best numbers of his career – 65 catches for 984 yards in 14 games, with 5 TDs. The Titans declined to pick up the fifth-year option on his rookie contact last year.
With Smith, he’s flashed ability but hasn’t been able to move up into the top tier of tight ends. He doesn’t scare defenses. Smith in the 2020 season caught 41 passes for 448 yards and 8 TDs (while also running for a touchdown).
The 9 TDs are an impressive total for a tight end, but Smith isn’t a player who looks particularly likely to lift an offense to greatness. He caught, for example, only 41 of the 65 passes thrown his way.
With the low catch rate and averaging a modest 10.9 yards per catch, Smith last year averaged only 6.9 yards per pass play (that is, not per catch but yards per target). There were 26 tight ends last year who saw at least 50 targets, and over half of them averaged more yards per play.
Smith was more effective in that regard in 2019, averaging 10.0 yards per target.
My guess with both Davis and Smith is that some other team will be more interested in coughing up more money than the Titans.
|TIGHT ENDS, YARDS PER TARGET|
|George Kittle, S.F.||63||48||634||2||10.06|
|Robert Tonyan, G.B.||59||52||586||11||9.93|
|Travis Kelce, K.C.||145||105||1,416||11||9.77|
|Tyler Higbee, LAR||60||44||521||5||8.68|
|Jared Cook, N.O.||60||37||504||7||8.40|
|Mike Gesicki, Mia.||85||53||703||6||8.27|
|Darren Waller, L.V.||145||107||1,196||9||8.25|
|Rob Gronkowski, T.B.||77||45||623||7||8.09|
|Dallas Goedert, Phil.||65||46||524||3||8.06|
|Mark Andrews, Balt.||88||58||701||7||7.97|
|Anthony Firkser, Ten.||53||39||387||1||7.30|
|Noah Fant, Den.||93||62||673||3||7.24|
|T.J. Hockenson, Det.||101||67||723||6||7.16|
|Dalton Schultz, Dall.||89||63||615||4||6.91|
|Jonnu Smith, Ten.||65||41||448||9||6.89|
|Gerald Everett, LAR||62||41||417||2||6.73|
|Hunter Henry, LAC||93||60||613||4||6.59|
|Drew Sample, Cin.||53||40||349||1||6.58|
|Hayden Hurst, Atl.||88||56||571||6||6.49|
|Austin Hooper, Cle.||70||46||435||4||6.21|
|Eric Ebron, Pitt.||91||56||558||5||6.13|
|Logan Thomas, Was.||110||72||670||6||6.09|
|Evan Engram, NYG||109||63||654||2||6.00|
|Jimmy Graham, Chi.||76||50||456||8||6.00|
|Tyler Eifert, Jac.||60||36||349||2||5.82|
|Zach Ertz, Phil.||72||36||335||1||4.65|