New Tennessee Titans General Manager Ran Carthon’s No. 1 Priority

The Tennessee Titans have hired Ran Carthon as their next general manager. Carthon, a former executive for the San Francisco 49ers, inherits a mess.

Ran Carthon is the Amy Adams Strunk’s pick as the new general manager of the Tennessee Titans, according to multiple reports. Carthon, who spent the last two years as the San Francisco 49ers‘ director of player personnel, becomes the NFL’s eighth Black general manager. He replaces Jon Robinson, fired by Strunk two-thirds of the way through the Titans’ disastrous 2022 season.

Carthon, 41, has worked in scouting since 2008, following a brief playing career. He inherits a roster that needs a ton of work — particularly at the most important position.

Ran Carthon Is the New GM of the Tennessee Titans

After a 7-3 start, the bottom fell out for the Titans in 2022. They lost their final seven games, including a win-and-get-in showdown with the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 18.

They’re talent-deficient. And there is no easy fix.

The Titans, per Spotrac, are over the 2023 salary cap by $24.1 million, giving them the second-worst cap situation in the NFL. And the good players they do have are not getting any younger. Derrick Henry turned 29 earlier this month and has carried the ball 1,750 times since entering the league in 2016.

Is he a player in decline? Henry’s yards-per-carry average the last two years (4.3 and 4.4) are far below his career average.

But the Titans have a more fundamental concern: What to do at quarterback?

Will Ryan Tannehill Be Back in Nashville?

Ryan Tannehill is entering the final season of his four-year, $118 million contract. His cap figure — $36.6 million — is the fifth-highest in the NFL.

Suffice it to say, Tannehill is not one of the five best quarterbacks in football — and at 35 years old when the 2023 season starts, there’s little reason to believe he’s suddenly going to get substantially better.

Tannehill isn’t bad. But he isn’t great. His QBR in 2022 (49.6) was more in line with his level of play as a member of the Miami Dolphins — who paid him to go away after the 2018 season.

The Titans have been thinking about moving on from Tannehill for some time, as evidenced by their decision to take Malik Willis in the third round of last April’s NFL draft. But Willis needs significant development before he’s anyone’s idea of a starting quarterback. Willis, as a rookie, completed just 50.8% of his passes for 276 yards in eight appearances.

He was so ineffective that Mike Vrabel benched him for Joshua Dobbs — a practice-squad call-up — for the last two weeks of the season.

MORE: Tennessee Titans Offseason Preview 2023

So expect the Titans to continue to explore ways to improve at the quarterback position. But with limited cap space, the NFL draft could be Carthon’s best path forward.

Yet, with just six draft picks — including three in the first three rounds — Tennessee has limited options.

If the Titans are serious about landing one of the top three prospects (Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud, and Will Levis), they might have to package this and next year’s first-rounders to do it.

Another option: The Titans simply keep Tannehill but quietly set him up to fail and position themselves for a top quarterback in 2024, when they are projected to have $87.4 million in cap space and a shot at the likes of Caleb Williams, Drake Maye and Quinn Ewers.

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