Tagged in: Titans

Julio Jones signing deal with Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Veteran wide receiver Julio Jones has a new home, agreeing to a one-year deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Tuesday.

The seven-time Pro Bowler gives soon-to-be 45-year-old Tom Brady another weapon in Tampa, Florida, as Jones looks to rebound from a down season with the Tennessee Titans.

Jones joins a receiver group with the Bucs that contains holdovers Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Tyler Johnson, Scotty Miller and Breshad Perriman, and welcomed Russell Gage — like Jones, another former Falcon — this offseason. Godwin had offseason surgery on a torn ACL suffered late last season.

The Bucs opted not to put him on the PUP list to start training camp, but a source told ESPN that they will be careful with him before letting him practice.

Tampa Bay also brought on veteran Kyle Rudolph last week, a move to shore up its tight end spot in the wake of Rob Gronkowski’s retirement.

The Titans released Jones in March, just one season after getting him in a trade from the Falcons.

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Tennessee dealt two draft picks to acquire him last year, hoping he would provide much-needed balance to its passing attack.

However, he appeared in just 10 games because of injuries and had career lows with 31 receptions for 434 yards and just one touchdown reception. It was the second consecutive season in which Jones was limited by injury. He appeared in just nine games for the Falcons in 2020.

The Falcons drafted Jones sixth overall in 2011, sending multiple picks to the Cleveland Browns to be able to take the Alabama standout. Atlanta, when it moved up to acquire Jones, traded its first-round pick in 2011 (No. 26), its second-round pick, two fourth-round picks and its 2012 first-round pick.

Jones, 33, is the Falcons’ career leader in catches (848) and yards (12,896) and is second to Roddy White in touchdown receptions (63). His 91.9 receiving yards per game is the best per-game average in NFL history.

He also leads the NFL in receiving yards since 2014, and Evans leads the NFL in touchdown catches (75) during that span. Now, they’re both on the same team.

Also Tuesday, the Bucs waived tight end Codey McElroy with an injury designation. A source told ESPN that McElroy will undergo foot surgery this week after dealing with the injury during the offseason.

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Tennessee Titans extend contracts for head coach Mike Vrabel, GM Jon Robinson

The Titans announced Tuesday that they have extended the contracts of general manager Jon Robinson and coach Mike Vrabel.

“I am proud to say that Jon and Mike will be leading our football team for years to come,” Titans controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk said in a statement.

“I have seen the team improve on a yearly basis under their direction, and I know their singular goal is to deliver a championship for our fans. Together they have developed a culture within our organization that has been essential to our success. Their values align with mine and what I want the Titans to be. They demand excellence from themselves and others, work well together, are always striving to improve and they care deeply for our players and staff.”

Vrabel joined the Titans in 2018 and matched Jack Pardee’s franchise record for wins (43) over the first four seasons with the team. Vrabel’s .614 career winning percentage (43-27, including playoffs) ranks the highest in franchise history.

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He led the team to the AFC Championship Game in 2019 and back-to-back AFC South titles over the past two campaigns. Vrabel earned Coach of the Year honors by the Pro Football Writers of America this past season after guiding the Titans to a 12-5 record and the top seed in the AFC.

Robinson joined the Titans in 2016 and helped lead them to a winning record in all six of his seasons in charge.

In that time, Robinson has become the second-winningest general manager in franchise history with 62 wins, trailing only Floyd Reese (111 wins).

During Robinson’s tenure with the Titans, the team has added nine Pro Bowl players to the roster through the draft (S Kevin Byard, RB Derrick Henry, WR A.J. Brown, DT Jeffery Simmons, OLB Harold Landry), free agency (G Rodger Saffold, ST Brynden Trawick) and trades (RB DeMarco Murray, QB Ryan Tannehill).

Additionally, the team added two coaches to its staff on Tuesday: Tim Kelly as passing game coordinator and Bobby King as inside linebackers coach.

Kelly joins the Titans after spending the past eight seasons with the Houston Texans, the last three of which were as the offensive coordinator. Before becoming the offensive coordinator, Kelly spent two seasons (2017-18) coaching the tight ends for the Texans.

King brings 12 years of NFL coaching experience to the Titans, counting eight seasons (2017-21, 2011-13) with the Texans. King coached the Texans’ defensive line this season after coaching the inside linebackers the previous four seasons.

The team also revealed that Jim Haslett (inside linebackers), Matt Edwards (assistant special teams), Kenechi Udeze (defensive line assistant) and Mondray Gee (strength and conditioning assistant) will not be returning to the coaching staff.

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Titans rally from 10 down at half, edge 49ers 20-17

Coach Mike Vrabel heard that his banged-up Tennessee Titans were being written off after the left side of their offensive line was ruled out a day before hosting the streaking San Francisco 49ers.

Then they lost their backup left tackle to a positive COVID-19 test Thursday morning, forcing them to use their 52nd different starter and 88th player this campaign.

“We’re not dead yet,” Vrabel said. Alive and kicking.

Randy Bullock booted a 44-yard field goal with 4 seconds left and the Titans rallied from a 10-point halftime deficit to defeat the 49ers 20-17 Thursday night. The Titans (10-5) are a win or a Colts’ loss away from clinching their second consecutive AFC South title despite losing three of their past four games to drop from the AFC’s top seed to third. Indianapolis plays Arizona on Saturday. Tennesse moved to second in the AFC.

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Ryan Tannehill threw for just 40 yards in the first half but finished with 209 yards and a TD for Tennessee. A.J. Brown caught 11 passes for 145 yards hours after being activated off injured reserve, and his 18-yard TD catch gave Tennessee a 17-10 lead early in the fourth.

“It was all on us and we just had to make a play,” Brown said. “Then we had to make another play. That was the mindset. Just come out here and make plays, so that’s what we did.”

The Titans also picked off two passes, sacked Jimmy Garoppolo twice and forced the Niners to turn it over on downs once.

San Francisco had one final chance. Garoppolo completed a 16-yard pass to Pro Bowl receiver Deebo Samuel, who fumbled, starting three laterals before Jayon Brown finally tackled Brandon Aiyuk to end the game.

The 49ers (8-7) lost for the second time in seven games as they try to hold onto a wild-card berth in the NFC. Their loss ensured a playoff berth for Dallas, which can clinch the NFC East with a victory over Washington on Sunday night.

Garoppolo tied it with a 2-yard TD pass to Brandon Aiyuk with 2:20 left, a score set up by a 56-yard catch-and-run by Samuel down to the Tennessee 6.

This was the Niners’ first loss after leading by 10 or more at halftime under coach Kyle Shanahan — they had been 18-0 in the regular season and playoffs with those leads. They hadn’t blown such a lead since Week 14 of 2016 to the Jets under Chip Kelly.

Garoppolo knows the Niners had their chances.

“It’s tough when you let one like this slip away,” Garoppolo said. The Niners led 10-0 at halftime, their first time shutting out an opponent in the first half since the 2019 NFC title game against Green Bay. That also marked four straight scoreless quarters for the Titans.

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Atlanta Falcons trade Julio Jones to Tennessee Titans

The Atlanta Falcons agreed to star trade wide receiver Julio Jones to the Tennessee Titans on Sunday.

In exchange for Jones, the Titans will send a 2022 second-round pick and a 2023 fourth-round selection to the Falcons. Along with Jones, the Falcons will send a 2023 sixth-round selection to the Titans.

The deal is pending a physical, the Titans stated.

Titans players Derrick Henry and A.J. Brown have expressed on social media their interest in having Jones as a teammate. Late last month, Brown posted a TikTok video to Jones explaining why the Titans would be the perfect fit for the star receiver.

The Titans lost two of their top pass-catchers in free agency as wide receiver Corey Davis signed with the New York Jets and tight end Jonnu Smith signed with the New England Patriots.

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Jones has been the subject of trade conversation over the past two months as Atlanta tries to remedy its salary-cap situation. On FS1 on May 24, Jones said, “I’m outta there,” when asked about the Falcons in a telephone call with Shannon Sharpe on the network’s “Undisputed” show.

It is unclear whether Jones knew the phone call was being televised.

Jones, whose base salary of $15.3 million is fully guaranteed for this season, was programmed to cost the Falcons $23.05 million against the cap in 2021 and has cap hits of $19.263 million in 2022 and 2023.

By moving him after June 1, it offers the Falcons relief against the cap this season because the dead money owed to him would be split between this season and next.

The Falcons drafted Jones sixth overall in the 2011 draft, trading a massive amount with Cleveland to be able to take the Alabama standout. Atlanta, when it moved up to acquire Jones, traded its first-round pick in 2011 (No. 26 overall), its second-round pick, two fourth-round picks and its 2012 first round pick.

Jones, 32, is the Falcons’ career leader in catches (848) and yards (12,896) and is second to Roddy White in touchdown receptions (63). His 95.5 receiving yards per game is the best per-game average in NFL history, almost 10 full yards better than first-ballot Hall of Famer Calvin Johnson, who is second (86.1).

Jones, though, had one of his worst seasons in 2020, limited to nine matches because of injury with 51 catches for 771 yards and three touchdowns. While his 15.1 yards per catch was his highest since 2017 and his catch percentage of 75 percent was the best of his career, his 85.7 yards per game was his lowest since 2012, his second year in the league.

The Falcons do have options to fill in for Jones. Calvin Ridley, whose fifth-year option Atlanta picked up in May, will slide into the No. 1 role, and a combination of 2021 first-round pick Kyle Pitts, Russell Gage, Olamide Zaccheaus and sixth-round pick Frank Darby could see bigger roles with Jones elsewhere.

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Tennessee Titans place Adam Humphries back on NFL injured reserve list

Either Adam Humphries came back too soon or should not have come back at all.

Regardless, the Tennessee Titans placed the wide receiver on injured reserve, the team informed Tuesday. That means that – at best – Humphries won’t be available again until the final week of the regular season.

Humphries now will be unavailable for the stretch run for the second time in as many years. He missed the final four games of 2019 with an ankle injury. Tennessee went 2-2 without him and claimed the final AFC wild card spot. Humphries did not return to the lineup until the AFC Championship match at Kansas City.

“Never wanted to get injured when there’s not many games, but it happened and you can learn from every situation,” Humphries said during training camp. “I feel like I learned a lot by watching my team dominate the playoffs last year. I was happy to be able to help them out in the last game.”

This season, Humphries sustained a concussion Nov. 1 at Cincinnati, which caused him to miss the next four contests. He also sat out one game in October because he was on the COVID-19 reserve list.

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He returned to action Sunday versus Cleveland but caught just one pass for nine yards.

He was targeted four times. His failure to catch a pass thrown his way in the final minute of the third quarter resulted in an interception that effectively ended any realistic chance the Titans had to overcome a 31-point halftime deficit. They ultimately lost 41-35.

“We got stops on defense and we were able to move the ball and score,” coach Mike Vrabel said following the game. “Unfortunately, that one there, the interception kind of put a halt to the momentum that we had building there in the second half and really just cost us just the time and the not being able to score.”

In seven matches, Humphries caught 23 passes for 228 yards and two touchdowns. All but two of those receptions came in his first four appearances.

The Titans signed Humphries to a four-year, $36 million free agent contract in 2019 with the idea that he would be their primary slot receiver. Since, he has caught 60 passes for 602 yards and four touchdowns in 19 games.

Without him, Tennessee will look to Cameron Batson, who caught five passes for 35 yards in the four games Humphries missed the concussion. Versus the Browns, Batson set a career-high with three receptions and scored his first NFL touchdown, an 8-yard reception with 28 seconds to play.

The practice squad includes Cody Hollister, who has appeared in seven games since the beginning  of last season, and Chester Rogers, who played 53 games (22 starts) for Indianapolis over the past four seasons.

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Denver Broncos WR Courtland Sutton out for season

The Denver Broncos’ passing attack now will have to forge on without not only its starting quarterback but also its top target.

Wide receiver Courtland Sutton is out for the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament suffered in Sunday’s loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, coach Vic Fangio confirmed Monday.

Sutton had three catches for 66 yards before exiting the match. He missed the Broncos’ Week 1 loss to the Tennessee Titans while dealing with a sprained AC joint. Sutton, 24, earned a Pro Bowl berth last season after recording 72 catches for 1,112 yards and six touchdowns.

He was expected to be the focal point of a passing attack that returned second-year tight end Noah Fant and added dynamic rookie receivers Jerry Jeudy and KJ Hamler.

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The injury is just the latest in a series of significant blows to a Denver team that was looking to break out in Fangio’s second season at the helm.

Quarterback Drew Lock suffered a “bad bruise” on his shoulder that will force him to miss three to five weeks, Fangio stated Monday. Three-time All-Pro pass-rusher Von Miller suffered a dislocated peroneal tendon that multiple reports indicated could sideline him for the remainder of the campaign.

Running back Phillip Lindsay (toe) also is expected to miss several weeks, per multiple reports, and cornerback A.J. Bouye (shoulder) will sit out at least two more games after being placed on injured reserve.

An already young Broncos offense will now feature one of the youngest wide receiver groups in the league as three rookies — Jerry Jeudy, KJ Hamler and Tyrie Cleveland — will get plenty of work in the weeks ahead. Fangio said “it will be the guys on the roster filling that void [left by Sutton].”

Denver had seven wideouts on roster and will go with six for now. The Broncos host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers next week before facing the New York Jets on the road in a “Thursday Night Football” matchup.

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Titans sign veteran QB Trevor Siemian as backup

Logan Woodside is no longer the second-most experienced quarterback on the Titans roster.

The team on Wednesday signed veteran quarterback Trevor Siemian to a one-year deal, according to his agent, Mike McCartney. Siemian will contest Woodside for the backup quarterback role behind starter Ryan Tannehill.

Also, the team cut seventh-round pick Cole McDonald, a source confirmed to The Tennessean. McDonald had struggled through the early portion of training camp.

Siemian, 28, was a seventh-round pick of the Broncos in 2015 and brings with him the NFL experience that Woodside lacks. Siemian has played in 27 matches in his NFL career, including 25 starts. He’s 13-12 in those games.

For his career, the 6-foot-3, 220-pound Siemian has completed 59.2% of his passes and has thrown for 5,689 yards with 30 touchdowns and 24 interceptions. He signed a one-year deal with the Jets in March 2019, but an ankle injury ended his season in September. Before appearing in one game for New York, Siemian’s last time seeing game action came in December 2017.

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Woodside, a seventh-round pick out of Toledo in 2018, has yet to take a snap in an NFL game.

He spent time on the Titans’ practice squad in each of the past two seasons and has earned high praise this offseason as he vies for the backup quarterback role.

“He’s earned the opportunity right now to earn the job,” Titans quarterbacks coach Pat O’Hara stated last week of Woodside. “The rest remains to be seen.” Earlier this month, Tannehill said, “I love playing with guys like (Woodside) who enjoy playing the game, enjoy the daily grind, the preparation, the hard work. He’s been a guy like that since Day 1. … He’s accurate. He can make all the throws. I feel like mentally, he’s mastering this offense just from being in it for a few years now. I feel like he has all the tools needed. It’s just a matter of going out and making it happen.”

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Derrick Henry, Titans reach agreement on 4-year deal

The Titans waited until the 11th hour, but they’ve secured their rushing king.

Tennessee agreed to terms with running back Derrick Henry on a four-year deal worth $50 million right before Wednesday’s deadline, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported. The team later confirmed it reached a long-term agreement with the RB.

Henry signed his franchise tag tender less than a month after the Titans formally placed it on him before the start of free agency, but that one-year contract that was arranged to pay him $10.3 million will become moot upon signing the new, multi-year deal.

“I want to stay with the Tennessee Titans,” Henry said, via the team website. “They are the ones that took a chance on me – 31 teams passed on me on the draft and they selected me. I have a lot of love for Tennessee. I have a lot of love for everyone in that organization.

“And we have grown from the time I got there. (In 2016) we just missed the playoffs, (in 2017) we got into the playoffs and went into the second round. This year we went to the AFC Championship. We have grown as an organization and as a team and I think that speaks volume for the direction we’re headed.”

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Henry rumbled to the league’s rushing title in the final week of the 2019 season, capping a 1,540-yard, 16-touchdown campaign with a dominant 211-yard outing in a playoff-clinching Week 17 victory over Houston.

He proved his worth in the postseason, putting Tennessee’s offense on his back to help the Titans to two stunning playoff victories.

Henry rushed 64 times for 377 yards and one touchdown in Tennessee’s upset victory over New England and Baltimore before coming back to earth in an AFC Championship Game loss to Kansas City.

Henry’s 69-yard outing in the conference title game wasn’t his fault, but a result of a Titans offense trying to keep pace with the Chiefs’ explosive group and being forced to turn away from the run. It definitely wasn’t indicative of his value; without Henry, the Titans simply do not reach the doorstep of the Super Bowl.

As of July 2020, it is wise for the Titans to do what they must to keep Henry, the strongest part of their offense for almost the entirety of his career — even if it took Tennessee two years to realize it.

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Chargers lose to Titans in a stunning way

This loss was ugly, but it was one of those games in which the Chargers had their fans jumping up and down with enthusiasm only to fail in incredibly shocking fashion.

The Titans held a 23-13 lead late in the fourth quarter but the Chargers rallied, starting with a 41-yard touchdown pass from Philip Rivers to Austin Ekeler to bring them within three points. After holding the Titans, including stopping them on a 4th-and-inches play around midfield, they only needed a field goal to tie.

The Chargers drove all the way down to the Titans’ 1-foot line. They needed to just fall into the end zone, but they also had no timeouts left. On first down, they handed the ball to Melvin Gordon. He bobbled the exchange and fell on it close to the goal line, but replays showed he was short. But let’s rewind it a bit. The Chargers got the ball into this position on a 16-yard completion to Ekeler that was initially ruled a touchdown. Replays showed that Ekeler came down just shy of the goal line.

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After Gordon was stopped, the Chargers lined up again with 22 seconds left on the clock. Gordon got the call again and again, fumbled the ball. It came through the pile and after a wild review period on the field, replays showed the Titans recuperated the ball.

The Chargers are now 2-5 and looking at a tough road to make the playoffs.

Gordon’s 2019 season has been, in a word, awful. He really felt like he deserved more money? Well, he didn’t then and he certainly doesn’t now. It’s been said before and it might be clear now. The Chargers are better without him. Ekeler had another solid game, despite being given limited snaps due to the team’s insistence to work Gordon in. The trade deadline is just over one week away and the Chargers should absolutely consider moving their former first-round pick.

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