Taylor Lewan will not hold out, to report to Titans this morning

TicketsBar2NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Titans have sidestepped a contract dispute and a holdout by Taylor Lewan, who will report to training camp on time with the rest of the team’s veterans Wednesday morning.

I reported last night that the sides had swapped proposals Tuesday. It appears there was enough progress and common ground in those discussions for the two-time Pro Bowl left tackle to join the team on time.LewanOAK

Lewan stayed away from the team’s three-day mandatory minicamp in June, indicating his dissatisfaction with his deal. He’s set to play under a fifth-year option worth $9.3 million.

He could have a new deal soon.


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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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Kevin Dodd's failure to report likely the end for him with Titans

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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An insiders' strong review of the Titans' receivers


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


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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My night at Springsteen on Broadway

NEW YORK – Here’s where a Bruce Springsteen fanatic tells you Springsteen on Broadway surpassed the hype and my expectations, where my Saturday night in New York was like you at the Super Bowl.

Much has been made about how sportswriters tend to love the guy. I have good friends in the business who share my feelings for him.SpringsteenSigns

At the core, we like the tunes and the authenticity. But we’re jealous of the storytelling. In his songs, and in the stories he shared that revealed the process of his life turning into his music, he uses more active verbs, paints with more colors and evokes more feeling than in anything I read, about sports or anything else.

And I know I can’t and won’t approach it in my work, so to be near it is extraordinary, to hear him detail a family, a friend, a neighborhood, a road trip, a draft notice, a marriage.

Springsteen was really funny at times, talking about putting on the clothes of a factory worker despite never having stepped foot in a factory, about this show being his first five-day-a-week job, about being the Born-to-Run guy and living 10 minutes from the hometown he wanted to bolt, about having no driver’s license and not being able to get an automatic car out of first gear not long before he wrote Racing in the Streets.

“I’m that good,” he said to a big laugh.

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