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What Does Will Levis Mean For Ryan Tannehill?

The Tennessee Titans selected quarterback Will Levis in the second round of the NFL Draft, which could spell the end of Ryan Tannehill.
Music City Musings Week 1

The Tenessee Titans selected Will Levis with their second-round pick, which naturally brought into doubt the future of current starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Tannehill has been under center since 2019 and, while he certainly hasn’t set the world on fire, has provided adequate production in each of the past four seasons. With only one year left on his deal, will the Titans trade Tannehill or keep him around for one last hurrah?

What The Tennessee Titans Will Do With Ryan Tannehill, Will Levis

Follow the Money

First and foremost, we need to look at the money. The NFL’s salary cap is one of the most stringent of all the major sports leagues, and if it doesn’t make financial sense to part ways with Tannehill, then it’s not going to happen.

As things currently stand, Tannehill is on the books for a $36.6 million cap hit, good for 15.9% of the total spending money for the team. If released or traded, the Titans could free up an additional $17.8 million. Savings like that are hard to ignore, especially if the Titans already feel like they have a reliable quarterback on the roster.

The Titans roster still has a lot of holes, but they can use some of that additional cap space to fill in a few voids. There are still several valuable free agents on the market, and perhaps the Titans could use that money to lure somebody like Marcus Peters to Tennessee. Alternatively, if Tennessee wants to embrace the rebuild, they could roll out all unused cap space into the 2024 offseason and just go nuts then.

Keep Ryan Tannehill Until Will Levis Is Ready

So, the Titans have a financial motivation to part ways with Ryan Tannehill, but they shouldn’t do anything drastic until they’re sure Will Levis is ready to start. After all, there is a reason that a league in which every single team is trying to find a franchise quarterback allowed the Kentucky product to fall into the second round.

While he has the physical makings of an NFL quarterback, Levis lacked the down-to-down consistency to justify a first-round pick. Perhaps this inconsistency stemmed from an objectively terrible collegiate supporting cast, but until they see it in practice, the Titans should keep Ryan Tannehill playing over Will Levis.

Additionally, holding on to Tannehill could provide a larger return on the trade market. Right now, the quarterback probably wouldn’t net anything more than a Day 3 pick in a trade. However, if the Titans keep him and injury strikes another team’s starter, that team could become desperate and offer a high return for Tannehill. Say what you will about the guy, but he is a starting-caliber quarterback in this league, and if you don’t have one of those, you don’t have a chance at competing.

On top of that, the Titans could also save money by parting ways with Tannehill later in the offseason. According to Over the Cap, Tannehill’s cap savings goes from $17.8 million to $27 million if designated as a post-June 1st transaction.

Ultimately, the Titans should have Will Levis and Ryan Tannehill compete early in the offseason. If Levis performs well and/or injury strikes another team, the Titans should then move on from Tannehill and increase their financial savings.

Main Photo: George Walker – USA Today Sports


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