Tannehill Preps for Free Agency by Changing Agents

David Boclair

NASHVILLE – Jon Robinson can now potentially tackle two of his most pressing offseason issues with a single phone call.

CAA Sports announced Tuesday that it has signed quarterback Ryan Tannehill and will represent the quarterback in contract negotiations this offseason. That firm, led by Brian Ayrault and Todd France, also represents Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry and is widely recognized as the sports world’s top management company.

Tannehill and Henry are among the most prominent Titans players scheduled to become free agents in March.

At 31 years old and after eight NFL seasons, Tannehill is in line for the most sizable payday of his career. He went 7-3 during the regular season as Tennessee’s starting quarterback and helped Titans score a pair of playoff upsets. He set career-highs with a 70.3 completion percentage, a 117.5 passer rating and an average of 9.6 yards per attempt, the last two of which led the NFL. He was named Comeback Player of the Year at the recent NFL Awards show.

Analysts estimate that his next contract likely will be worth somewhere around $30 million per season. The 2020 NFL salary cap will be between $196.8 and $201.2 million, which means 15 percent or more of the Titans’ salary pool could go to the quarterback.

Tannehill has earned slightly more than $72 million over the course of his career and only once (2017 with Miami) accounted for more than 7.5 percent of his team’s cap space.

Henry, who led the NFL with a career-high 1,540 rushing yards in 2019, also is in need of a new contract. He publicly has expressed a desire to remain with Tennessee but has said he expects a deal worth at least as much as the six-year, $90 million pact ($15 million per year) running back Ezekiel Elliott signed with Dallas last September.

Henry earned just shy of $5.5 million over the past four years via the rookie contract he signed after the Titans drafted him in the second round (45 overall) in 2016.

At least when Robinson, the fifth-year general manager, works on a deal for one he won’t have to explain how that might impact negotiations with the other.