The old football saying is, “If you have more than one quarterback, you don’t have any at all.” Or something along those lines. For Malik Willis and the Tennessee Titans, what could that mean?
As the starter for each of the past four seasons, Ryan Tannehill still appears to be in the captain’s chair heading into 2023. Yet, after the Titans traded up to draft Will Levis 33rd overall, the soon-to-be 35-year-old’s status as the starter may not be firm.
Then there’s Willis, who was the 86th overall pick from 2022. Where does the second-year pro who started three games for Tennessee stand with the new front office?
Being that first-year general manager Ran Carthon didn’t hand-select Willis, his days in Tennessee may already be numbered. Meanwhile, some who are already thinking ahead to the start of the season don’t even see Willis making the final roster, becoming a roster cutdown candidate to be released in the next few months.
If the Titans are somehow unable to find a trade suitor willing to take on the remaining three years on Willis’ contract, being released isn’t out of the question. But if so, it would be a rapid fall from grace for a prospect who was once viewed as a potential fringe first-round pick.
If Willis were to hit the trade block, it’s much easier to envision a team parting with a late Day 3 pick somewhere between Rounds 5 and 7 for the 23-year-old prospect with a big arm and an immense amount of athleticism.
While the idea of Willis being released roughly a year after being selected in the third round is notable, it wouldn’t be unprecedented. The Minnesota Vikings did something similar with Kellen Mond, drafting him 66th overall, only for a new regime to release him one year later.