The future is now for the Tennessee Titans. 2023 second-round pick Will Levis, whom the team traded up to select, was recently named the team’s starting quarterback moving forward. It is a move that makes sense for Tennessee, as they can see what Levis has to offer while playing games with some importance.
Levis stepped into the starting lineup in Week 8 against the Atlanta Falcons in place of the injured Ryan Tannehill. Tannehill was nursing an ankle injury and Levis made the most of his opportunity, throwing for 238 yards and four touchdowns.
The Kentucky product got the start in Week 9 against the Pittsburgh Steelers on a short week and wasn’t nearly as productive. The Titans lost that game 20-16 and took another step backward in Week 10 when they lost 20-6 on the road to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Some growing pains were expected with the young quarterback taking over the offense, and Tennessee is willing to let him work through them. However, they could be turning to Malik Willis as his backup soon. According to Jeff Simon of ESPN, Tannehill has requested a release from the team.
Playing out the final year of his contract, Tannehill is presumably looking to latch on with a team that he has a chance to be the starter on. There was some speculation that he could be traded before the deadline, but teams weren’t willing to surrender compensation in addition to forking over the amount of money he was owed.
Should he be released, those issues wouldn’t exist. He would be free to sign with a team of his choice, who wouldn’t be on the hook for much money. Should Tannehill hit the open market, there are a number of teams who should show interest.
The Cleveland Browns, who announced this week that Deshaun Watson will be sidelined for the remainder of the season with a shoulder injury, would make sense. The New York Jets should be interested but they seem intent on riding things out with Zach Wilson.
The Atlanta Falcons, who are coached by former Titans’ offensive coordinator Arthur Smith, would also be a good fit. Joining a team midseason is not easy for a quarterback, but the transition in Atlanta would be lessened given his extensive knowledge of Smith’s schemes and playbook.
With his time in Tennessee as the starting quarterback over, Tannehill is looking for a fresh start. It will be interesting to see if the Titans grant it, as they are bought in on the rebuild and youth movement.