Editor’s note: In the coming weeks our Patriots insiders will be speaking with beat writers from around the NFL to get an outside view on what the future holds for the Patriots. Today’s team: The Tennessee Titans with Joe Rexrode of The Athletic.
The Tennessee Titans were considered one of the frontrunners to land Tom Brady in free agency. However, the Brady-to-Nashville hype dissipated when the Titans committed to Ryan Tannehill with a four-year, $118 million contract.
Imagine reading that a year ago? The Titans picked Ryan Tannehill over Tom Brady? What planet are we on?
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But Tannehill's 2019 season was no joke. The 31-year-old tossed 22 touchdown passes with only six interceptions and finished the year with the highest passer rating (117.5) of all starting quarterbacks.
He also led the Titans all the way to the AFC Championship Game with playoff victories over Brady's New England Patriots and the Baltimore Ravens. That apparently was enough to convince head coach Mike Vrabel and Co. that Tannehill was the answer going forward.
In our latest edition of Patriots Opposing Views, Joe Rexrode of The Athletic chatted with Phil Perry about the Titans' faith in Tannehill and whether they would have gone after Brady if circumstances were different.
"I think it's only about Ryan Tannehill," said Rexrode. "When Tannehill came in to the job, they were 2-4, they had just lost an awful game at Denver, Marcus Mariota was flaming out. If the season continued as it did, I think it would have been an all-in situation for Vrabel to try to bring Brady here. There was a lot of reasons for it to work and for both sides to like it, but I think Ryan Tannehill by the end there they were like, 'How do we not pay this guy?'
"And obviously you're talking about 10, 11 years difference in age, So from a long-term perspective, it makes sense if he is what he was last year. It's always a gamble, but I really think it's a totally different mindset for them if Tannehill doesn't kind of grab that job the way he did."
Only time will tell whether or not Tannehill's success last season was simply a flash in the pan. His seven previous seasons in Miami weren't exactly admirable, but perhaps a change of scenery is all he needed. That, and of course a 240-pound behemoth at running back named Derrick Henry.
As great of a fit Brady may have been in Tennessee with his old friend Vrabel, he still landed in a solid situation. He'll lead a high-powered Tampa Bay Buccaneers offense after signing a two-year, $50 million contract in March.