Titans and Taylor Lewan swapped contract proposals Tuesday

TicketsBar2NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Taylor Lewan and the Titans exchanged contract proposals Tuesday, sources told me, but it’s unclear how much progress on a new deal was made and whether Lewan will report along with the team’s veterans on Wednesday.

The first practice of training camp is Thursday starting at 9:50 a.m. CT.

Lewan is signed through this season, with a fifth-year option on his rookie deal set to pay him a $9.3 million base salary in 2018. But he did not show up for the team's mandatory minicamp June 12-14 indicating he was not satisfied with his deal or progress toward a new one.LewanKC

He’s made just under $11.5 million through the first four years of his rookie deal, signed after he was the 11th pick in the 2014 draft.

Lewan has played in the Pro Bowl the last two years and is widely regarded as one of the league’s top left tackles. A scout told me Lewan currently rates as a top-five player at his position.

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Taylor Lewan deserves a payday: A look at contract numbers and the case for and against a holdout

TicketsBar2NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Taylor Lewan is in line for a big contract, and since it didn’t seem imminent he skipped the team’s mandatory minicamp in June.

Now the big story is whether he will report with the Titans veterans on Wednesday and practice Thursday or if he will stay away.

I don’t think there have been very extensive talks, and unless things have really picked up, a new deal by then seems unlikely.LewanSmileSEA

The Titans have other big contracts on the not-so-distant horizon: Marcus Mariota is under contract through 2019. Kevin Byard’s been All-Pro and he’s heading into his third year of a four-year deal. Jack Conklin’s been All-Pro and he’s heading into his third year but the team will have a fifth-year option and is under team control through 2020.

But the pressing issue now is Lewan, who’s really grown into just what Ruston Webster envisioned when picking him 11th overall out of Michigan in 2014: A rugged, high-energy player whose excellent athleticism allows him to pass protect and run block with equal aplomb.

He’s the Titans’ swagger guy, a model for how to mature during your first deal if you, in fact, need some time.

If the sides don’t reach a new agreement by the start of the 2019 NFL calendar year next March, the Titans could put the franchise tag on Lewan.

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YAZOO PODCAST: Evan Silva on the most predictive Marcus Mariota stat

YAZOO podcast stripeNASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Evan Silva, Rotoworld's senior football editor, provides the best weekly fantasy football matchup column there is.

He goes well beyond the basics, pointing to updated snaps counts for ball-carriers and targets and the important developments on the defense they will face. These files are as effective at scouting reports as they are for fantasy advice.

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I visited with Silva for this week's podcast and we fleshed out his Titans' offseason lowdowns column and more.

He's been covering the NFL in this fashion for 10-11 years and said he's never been as optimistic about the Titans as he is now. We cover the likelihood the Titans throw to the backs a lot more, the division of labor between Derrick Henry and Dion Lewis, his comp for Corey Davis, the game speed of Taywan Taylor and Delanie Walker, Malcolm Butler's place in the Titans secondary and the one predictive stats that bodes best for Marcus Mariota.

Part 1 is available through iTunes, here, or directly through the Vokal website, here. Feel free to hook us up with a rating and review on iTunes.

If you're a member of the site, Part 1 and Part 2 are together, and all you have to do is head below the line. 

Lisen up and be sure to give @EvanSilva a twitter follow.

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TicketsBar2NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Some of the Titans transactions at the opening of the first phase of camp are merely book-keeping moves.

Quarterbacks, rookies and players who finished the offseason program in June with injuries were due to report.

Kevin Dodd was one of them and didn’t show up. Meaning he was placed on a list we rarely see used: Reserve – Did Not Report.DoddJags

It probably means we’ve hit the end for the 33rd pick in the 2016 draft, a guy who dealt with two surgeries for a foot stress fracture as a rookie and never showed much fire or production. He was in line for a chance as a swing outside backer and base end but he was hardly a piece they were relying on.

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Pickers mailbag: Too much confusion over Jurrell Casey comments

pickers vodka 847x63We're less than a week from the start of camp, so I hope you are ready to crank up your reading.

If you haven't yet listened to the Blake Beddingfield podcast, you really need to.

And here's a Periscope from earlier this week.

Now onto your questions Good job this week, thanks.

How do you think the Titans will handle the Casey issue. #Titans

— Spot Jenkins (@JMKIII58) July 20, 2018

PK: I don’t even think there is an issue here. He’s going to do what he did last year, which is raise a fist at the conclusion of the anthem. (He said as much, and he liked a tweet where I wrote that is all this amounts to.)

It got distorted because he wasn’t especially clear saying he’d protest “during the flag.” And the fines don’t work the way he seems to think.Casey2IND

Steve Underwood clarified the whole deal from the team perspective -- this is from The Tennessean from The Tennessean through ESPN.com.

"In the case of Jurrell Casey, I think our head coach (Mike Vrabel) and general manager (Jon Robinson) are interested in having a conversation after he gets back from the United Kingdom," Titans CEO and team president Steve Underwood said at a sports authority meeting Thursday, per the Tennessean. "We think there may be some misunderstanding on his part."

“Because the new league new policy does not provide anywhere that fines are made against players. If a player doesn't stand, the teams can be fined, but not the players.”

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Many of you won't like me saying so, but lots of Titans' fans overrate Steve McNair

TicketsBar2NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Steve McNair is unquestionably the best quarterback the Titans have ever had and deserves his stature as, for most, the most beloved player in team history.McNair2

But even with his tremendous heart, toughness and leadership, he was not as good as many people like to remember he was.

So in a long conversation on Wednesday’s edition of The Midday 180 about the most overrated players/sports people in the Titans/Predators era of Nashville history, I dared to raise his name. And my case was strong enough that Chad Withrow, David Reed and I deemed McNair worthy of a spot on the top five.

This brought on just the sort of well-reasoned and reasonable reaction we’d all expect.

No one thinks Thigpen, Moss in Tennessee or Oher were any good. So how could they possibly be overrated? I'm begging you to think of what overrated means: Rated more highly than one should be. It's not an automatic insult, though it sounds like one. I've heard arguments that Babe Ruth was overrated, but they hardly suggest he wasn't great, important and influential. 

A lot of people are properly, appropriately rated. Based on the number of people who ask me if/when McNair will get into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, they’ve got him overrated.

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YAZOO podcast stripeNASHVILLE, Tenn. -- We have very little access to the view from the inside, so any conversation with Blake Beddingfield is enlightening.

He was part of 19 Tennessee Titans drafts, the last six as college scouting director.

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And so for this week's podcast, we covered some super-insider territory, starting with a discussion of last week's guest, Samari Rolle, and the best cornerbacks who've played for the Titans.

Then Beddingfield gave us two excellent lists: The three best workouts he attended of players the Titans drafted and the three guys he misread the most as college prospects who landed in Tennessee.

In between the two of those he shared the comps the team had for the three first-round quarterbacks drafted during his tenure: Vince Young, Jake Locker and Marcus Mariota.

Part 1 is available through iTunes, here, or directly through the Vokal website, here. Feel free to hook us up with a rating and review on iTunes.

If you're a member of the site, Part 1 and Part 2 are together, and all you have to do is head below the line. 

I hope you enjoy the conversation as much as I did. If you didn't know before why I like him so much, you will after these 50 minutes.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – As has been the case virtually every year of their existence in Tennessee, the Titans have big questions at wide receiver.

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Corey Davis looked good when he was out there during the offseason, but he wasn’t out there the whole time as he was dinged up in some fashion. And receivers looking good during the offseason have been as frequent an occurrence as them underachieving in the regular season.

We’ve talked a ton about Mike Vrabel and Matt LaFleur maximizing Marcus Mariota.

The Titans’ new offense should also maximize Davis, Rishard Matthews, Taywan Taylor, Tajae Sharpe and Michael Campanaro.

When media had a chance to talk to assistant coaches, I approached most of them to ask each about what they saw on the other side of the ball.

Many said they were so focused on their side of the ball they didn’t even know the matchup.

But cornerback coach Kerry Coombs offed some good thoughts on the receivers, and he also had some good stuff on how defensive back rewards come about.

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