Ryan Tannehill may be drinking some tequila tonight.
Titans G.M. Jon Robinson told reporters on Friday night that the team did not consult with their current starting quarterback before trading up to select quarterback Malik Willis in round three of the 2022 NFL draft.
Willis, regarded by many as a first-round prospect, slid through the first two rounds and into round three.
Tannehill didn’t show up for the start of the voluntary offseason program as he enters the penultimate season of a four-year contract with the Titans. While the cap consequences protected him against the team moving on in 2022, it gets much easier to move in a different direction for 2023.
A top-10 pick of the Dolphins in 2012, Tannehill arrived in Tennessee three years ago, when Marcus Mariota was the entrenched starter. The Titans eventually benched Mariota for Tannehill, who became the comeback player of the year.
After three interceptions in a playoff loss by the top-seeded Titans to the Bengals, Tannehill became a magnet for criticism. The Titans circled the wagons, but questions have lingered regarding his future with the team. With Willis now on the roster, those questions won’t go away.
Nothing the Titans say will change that, especially since the Titans spent so much time in recent weeks insisting that receiver A.J. Brown wouldn’t be traded.
Brown was, and Tannehill’s status necessarily becomes uncertain. While he undoubtedly will be the guy for now, Willis will have a chance to become the heir to Tannehill, if the Titans decide to move on after the coming season.
Whether Willis develops becomes the wild card in this equation. His overall status and desirability fell into question as he slid through pick after pick. The Titans saw enough to trade up and get him. Now, in a business that is premised heavily if not completely on results, Tannhill will have to show that he can generate the kind of performance that prompts the Titans to keep Willis on the back burner, indefinitely.
Tannehill will have to do it with a new-look receiving corps, headlined by Robert Woods (acquired from the Rams) and Treylon Burks, a first-rounder who will be expected to step right in and replace A.J. Brown.