Jeffery Simmons now the Titans' longest-range plan

Ran Carthon, Jeffery Simmons and Mike Vrabel
   Ran Carthon, Jeffery Simmons and Mike Vrabel

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Presuming the Titans move into their new stadium on time, just two players from the team they will field in 2023 are in line to run out for the first introductions there.

Jeffery Simmons, who talked about his new four-year extension in a Wednesday press conference, and their first-round pick, who will be revealed on April 27. Ideally, that guy will be playing under his fifth-year option or at the start of a second contract.

That’s how big of a foundational player Tennessee’s star defensive tackle is: He's the centerpiece of Mike Vrabel’s defense and the touchstone for everyone else on that side of the ball.

He is the long-range plan. [Unlocked]

“I really haven’t thought about the stadium and all that,” Simmons said. “My thing is, I want to be here in Tennessee, I want to play my career here in Tennessee, I want to be here in Tennessee, I love the people in Tennessee, but most importantly I love the guys on this team. This whole process there was not one time that I said that I wanted to leave Tennessee….”

Simmons said his friendship with Jurrell Casey, a player he overlapped with for one season and took the mantle from when Casey was traded to Denver in 2020, sparked him to become a vocal leader in his second season.

“Try to be that captain that I needed to be here in Tennessee,” he said. “That’s when I saw in myself that I could be that guy to help lead this team and to this day I feel like I have a lot of work to do myself, to this day I feel like I have some work to do with this team. I do look at myself as the voice for this team, especially on defense. We can be better, we can be better than we were and we can get to our main goal.”

It’s hard, frankly, to see other foundational pieces on this roster right now.

Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry are aging and entering the final seasons of their deals while Treylon Burks and Chig Okonkwo are just getting started and haven’t shown enough yet to be surefire producers. The offensive line is undergoing a major overhaul.

There is more on defense, where Harold Landry is coming off a torn ACL but is signed through 2026. Kevin Byard is 30 and costly but is still playing at a high level with two years remaining on his deal.

Mike Vrabel said Simmons is everything the team wants in a Titan.

“From the time that we went down and spent time with you at Mississippi State, you answered a lot of questions truthfully, honestly,” Vrabel said, talking directly to Simmons as he introduced him. “You’re a great example to our community, so thank you. You’ve earned this. We’re going to continue to hold you to a high standard, so that will be the fun part. But you certainly embody everything we believe in here as a team captain, as a leader and with your performance on the field.”

Kuharsky megaphoneSimmons spoke to that standard and how he hopes to continue to carry the flag for it.

“I think it starts with just the way we want to play around here,” he said. “We get taught, each and every day we get coached hard. It doesn’t come down to the coaches saying it all the time. It’s about the players. When you have the players doing it and talking it, it’s like, “all right, this is what they want.’ I’ve been around Coach Vrabe, I know the toughness he wants on our team, I know the grit he wants and I know the type of effort he wants us to play with.

“So if I’m not out there doing it, then these other guys are not going to buy into it.”

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