The Tennessee Titans are moving forward with Ryan Tannehill as their starting quarterback in 2023.
So says general manager Ran Carthon, who didn’t sound sold during his introductory press conference last month. Carthon said then that he needed to further evaluate Tannehill, who turns 35 in July.
It was a different tune at the NFL combine in Indianapolis on Tuesday.
“Ryan is under contract,” Carthon said. “I know everybody wants to make a big deal out of the quarterback position and whether he will or won’t be here, but you guys just have to accept the fact that Ryan is under contract for us. Right now, he’s a Titan and he will be a Titan.”
Part of what’s fueling speculation of a departure is Tannehill’s $36.6 million cap hit for 2023. The Titans could save roughly half that amount by releasing the 10-year veteran.
But Carthon likes what he has been seeing in the team facility since taking over the GM duties.
“He’s been a diligent worker, been in the building every day rehabbing and getting his work in,” Carthon said. “So he is under contract and I am excited about moving forward with him and have a ton of respect for him.”
Tannehill is slated to receive a $27 million base salary after being limited to just 12 games last season due to a season-ending ankle injury.
But perhaps part of the decision process revolves around the poor showing by 2022 third-round pick Malik Willis, who looked overmatched by the speed of the NFL.
Willis went 1-2 as a starter but passed for just 276 yards while completing a paltry 50.8 percent of his passes. He was intercepted three times and didn’t throw a touchdown pass.
In fact, when Tennessee was facing two pivotal games late in the season, they plucked Joshua Dobbs off the Detroit Lions’ practice squad and immediately started the journeyman.
Tannehill passed for 2,536 yards, 13 touchdowns and six interceptions prior to his injury. The 2023 campaign would be his fifth with the Titans after he spent six campaigns with the Miami Dolphins.
New Tennessee offensive coordinator Tim Kelly said he is looking forward to working with Tannehill.
“He’s a great pro,” Kelly said. “He checks every box in terms of what you’re looking for from that position. I’m excited to continue to work with Ryan.”