One day into training camp and already there is intrigue with the Tennessee Titans.
Specifically that intrigue has to do with exactly where is Vic Beasley and when will he report to the club – if at all.
Beasley was placed on the Reserve/Did Not Report List by the Titans at the close of business on Tuesday, meaning that he didn’t show up as expected with his new teammates in reporting for camp.
The Titans signed Beasley to a one-year, $9.5 million contract in the off-season, hoping the veteran outside linebacker would help bolster a pass rush that needs more pop and consistency. Beasley has 37.5 career sacks, and led the NFL with 15.5 sacks in 2016 in his second season with the Atlanta Falcons.
Team sources and sources connected to Beasley have not responded at all thus far regarding his whereabouts or his status or intentions. In some ways, it sounds like another former Clemson star who spent time with the Titans, when Kevin Dodd was missing from an off-season of work and then suddenly he was gone, never to be heard from again. The Titans have to hope this one doesn’t turn out like the Dodd situation did a couple of years ago.
Beasley’s contract breakdown gave him $6 million up front as a signing bonus, another $2 million as a roster bonus and a $1.5 million base salary for 2020.
Beasley was signed in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic and all his interaction with the Titans thus far has been through Zoom meetings. Now that the time to report is here, Beasley was absent.
Is Beasley contemplating opting out of the 2020 season due to the coronavirus? Players have until Aug. 4 to declare their intentions in that regard, and several players have already decided not to play this season, including Titans undrafted rookie tackle Anthony McKinney, who opted out Tuesday.
The Beasley mystery may resolve itself in a few days, and perhaps if he reports soon, all will be smoothed out and the matter will be forgotten. But no matter what happens, this is not getting started the way the Titans had hoped when they signed Beasley back in March.
There are already more distractions built in to the 2020 season than in any season before, and not being able to pin down Beasley is not making matters any easier. I’m sure Beasley has his reasons for being absent, and those reasons might be completely valid and legitimate. Who knows, the Titans may have a handle on this matter and know exactly why Beasley is away from camp and exactly when or if he will report to the team.
But it is the perception of Beasley being AWOL that makes this not a good look for Beasley or the team in this situation at the start of a most unusual training camp.