Both general manager Jon Robinson and head coach Mike Mularkey said the trade of receiver Dorial Green-Beckham to Philadelphia on Tuesday was made to address a need for depth on the offensive line.
The Titans acquired backup guard/tackle Dennis Kelly in the trade for Green-Beckham, the Titans’ second-round pick last year.
Trade talks involving DGB began late last week and went through the weekend before being consummated on Tuesday.
However, the trade of the inconsistent receiver sent shockwaves and a message through the Titans locker room that players who don’t perform at a consistent level are expendable.
“It really was just value based. Dennis was a guy that we thought would help our football team, that would make us a more competitive position group up there,” Robinson said. “He’s played three positions. He’s started 15 games in the NFL at (left) tackle, guard and right tackle. So we’re looking forward to working with him. We’ll work him all along the front.
“It wasn’t a statement, it was just doing what we thought was best for the team. The NFL is a business, and again, we’ve said it since January, we’re trying to put the most competitive 90-man team on the field and we think we did that today.”
Lack of consistency
Both Robinson and Mularkey said it was the lack of consistency that did in Green-Beckham, who began the off-season as a starter, but was quickly passed by by rookie Tajae Sharpe during OTAs.
“I think it was just inconsistencies. We’ve talked about that before and wanting to come in on a day-in, day-out basis and perform at a level that is expected of Titans,” Robinson said,
Mularkey echoed that on Tuesday afternoon in explaining the reasoning behind the trade.
“It’s a daily evaluation of everybody. I’ve been very up front about everybody you’ve asked me about, about how they’re performing,” Mularkey said. “I’ll say this, the inconsistency that was there, we had many conversations about having back-to-back-to-back days. It wasn’t like he wasn’t trying, but it never clicked in.”
Sending a message?
Players were stunned by the news, and whether the Titans were intending to send a message or not, the players received one.
“I think that was a big trade. Nobody in the locker room was expecting it. They definitely sent out a message today.” said receiver Justin Hunter, who is on the roster bubble himself. “I definitely do (see some urgency). I feel like everybody is on the chop block. We’ve got a new GM and he didn’t draft too many people in here. Anybody can go at this point, and we’re all fighting for a spot.”
Both Mularkey and Robinson said Tuesday the Titans feel comfortable with their wide receiver depth, though that position was a major question mark heading into training camp. And with having lost both Byron Bell and Josue Matias to season-ending injuries, there was a need on the offensive line.
“I feel good about them. We’ve got a good group. You’re talking about a Hall of Famer in Andre Johnson,” Mularkey said. “Rishard (Matthews) has come in here and made plays. We need to get Kendall (Wright) back in the mix. We’ve missed him being able to play that slot. I feel good about where we are with them right now. Jon and I both felt like this was best for our team, based on our situation with the offensive line as well.”