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Tennessee Titans’ general manager Ran Carthon ‘needs more time’ to evaluate Ryan Tannehill’s future

Tennessee Titans
George Walker IV / Tennessean.com / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Tennessee Titans just missed the playoffs for the first time since 2018. They’ve since fired their offensive coordinator Todd Downing, and also fired general manager Jon Robinson, although that move came back on Dec. 6.

But now Ran Carthon is the new general manager in town, and he’s ready to put his own thumbprint on the roster as he looks to bring them back to postseason contention.

At the front of his items to address is surely the quarterback position. Ryan Tannehill has been the team’s starter for much of the past four seasons, but he’s also set to turn 35 and missed five games with an injury in 2022. This is on top of him only leading a 6-6 effort when healthy and being a big reason why the team got eliminated from the Divisional round in 2021 after throwing three interceptions.

We can’t act like the last regime hadn’t begun to look toward the future by selecting Malik Willis in the third round of last April’s NFL draft. But as mentioned, this is a new wave of decision-makers, and even Willis may not be their ideal choice as a potential future franchise QB.

Still, the fanbase has questions for the new GM in town, and Carthon took to the podium on Friday to address some concerns, with the QB position taking center stage.

Carthon was asked to evaluate the quarterback room, but the new Titans GM admitted he didn’t want to jump to conclusions.

“I don’t think that’s fair at this point. We’re still evaluating the roster. Ryan has been great here. He’s won a lot of football games. I look forward to us winning football games. But I still need more time to evaluate and make those decisions.”

Tennessee Titans GM Ran Carthon on Ryan Tannehill

Yet, head coach Mike Vrabel stands behind his quarterback, stating at the team’s season-ending press conference, “he is our starting quarterback.” Basically, the Titans have a big decision to make, and Carthon has made it clear he understands the importance of finding the right person for the job.

“This is a quarterback-driven league. People are hired and fired every day over that position. I want to spend more time evaluating that position so I will have my own opinion. Then, Mike and I will confer and we’ll figure it out,” said Carthon.

The Titans do have options if they ultimately decide moving on from Tannehill is best. While he’s under contract through the 2023 season for a massive cap number of $36.6 million (fifth-highest QB cap hit in 2023), the Titans can designate Tannehill as a post-June 1 cap casualty and only take a cap penalty of $9.6M, while saving $27M on their 2023 salary sheet.

While Tannehill has proven to be a steady, often reliable option under center, the Titans may have come to the conclusion that he’s not equipped to take this offense to the promised land. In an offseason that’s sure to feature plenty of quarterbacks becoming available, don’t be shocked if the Titans get in the mix as well.

Related: 2023 NFL Draft QB rankings: Bryce Young leads best quarterback prospects in NFL Draft