Titans GM Jon Robinson not ruling out draft deal

I think what Titans fans saw Sunday was what Henry will be like when he gets the opportunity to actually warm himself up and operate as a starting back during a game. Last season’s puzzling utilization didn’t accentuate the best parts of Henry’s skill set.

This could be one of the few examples of a smooth transition in recent NFL history. Murray will be the Titans’ starting running back for the foreseeable future, but could see another tiny chunk of his role transfer over to Henry as the weeks go on.

Although the Bengals picked up Kirkpatrick’s fifth-year option last season, his time in Cincinnati could be over unless they’re willing to pay up. Kirkpatrick had a decent 2016 campaign — 46 tackles, three interceptions — and coach Marvin Lewis said in January he’d like to keep the former Alabama star around.

Speaking to reporters at the NFL Scouting Combine on Thursday, Duke Tobin, the Bengals’ director of player personnel, said the team would make an effort to keep its higher-profile free agents, including Kirkpatrick.

With 2014 draft selection Derek Carr already landing a rich, long-term deal, it won’t be long before we pivot our attention to Mariota and Jameis Winston, who went atop the draft in 2015. Established passers like Matthew Stafford will have the first crack at elevating monetary expectations in the QB marketplace but before long another year of rookie contracts will fall by the wayside.

It will be the one solace for the QB tandem. After watching pre-collective bargaining agreement quarterbacks cash in before the advent of the rookie salary structure, another year of solid play could jump them to the front of the line in average salary.

The Titans have not made the playoffs since 2008, back when Walker was a tight end for the San Francisco 49ers. Since joining the team in Nashville back in 2013, he’s been one of the few steady offensive performers — a face of a faceless offense that has gone through three head coaches in four years.

All that has changed since the arrival of and the re-imagination of Mike Mularkey’s frantic motion offense. Tennessee was one of the most enjoyable teams to watch in football last year and should be considered a favorite to win the log-jammed AFC South in 2017 alongside the Texans and Colts.

“Draft currency is a powerful thing in this league because it gives you a chance to acquire young talent,” Robinson said. “They are less expensive players than guys who have played in the league six, seven or eight, nine or 10 years. So to be able to get two of those guys, or one of those guys if we trade, or three of those guys if we trade. … Whatever it is, draft picks are valuable currency as it relates to team building.”

Robinson has been fun to watch throughout his first season. Not only are the Titans winning and playing some of the league’s most exciting football, but the general manager seems comfortable taking the fans as far inside the process as he can. This could all change with a poor season, of course, but there doesn’t seem to be a non-playoff team out there right now with a brighter future. Robinson’s first draft produced six valuable contributors, including one of the best young offensive tackles in football (first-round pick ).

“Draft currency is a powerful thing in this league because it gives you a chance to acquire young talent,” Robinson said. “They are less expensive players than guys who have played in the league six, seven or eight, nine or 10 years. So to be able to get two of those guys, or one of those guys if we trade, or three of those guys if we trade. … Whatever it is, draft picks are valuable currency as it relates to team building.”

Robinson has been fun to watch throughout his first season. Not only are the Titans winning and playing some of the league’s most exciting football, but the general manager seems comfortable taking the fans as far inside the process as he can. This could all change with a poor season, of course, but there doesn’t seem to be a non-playoff team out there right now with a brighter future. Robinson’s first draft produced six valuable contributors, including one of the best young offensive tackles in football (first-round pick Jack Conklin).

The franchise quarterback was carted off the field during a Christmas Eve loss, killing the Titans’ chances of earning a playoff berth.

Holding out Mariota from workouts until at least training camp is prudent for a growing Tennessee squad. There is no point to put their most important player in harm’s way until he’s fully recovered.