• Sat. Apr 1st, 2023

Titans fire General Manager Jon Robinson

ByEvan McNelia

Dec 8, 2022
Jon Robinson walks on the field

Photo courtesy of Wesley Hitt | Getty Images

The Tennessee Titans fired General Manager Jon Robinson on Tuesday as reported by sources around the NFL. The firing came two days after a 35-10 defeat against the Philadelphia Eagles in which former Titan AJ Brown torched his former team for eight receptions, 119 yards and two touchdowns.

Robinson traded Brown to the Eagles during the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft for the 18th overall pick and the 101st overall selection. The 101st selection was traded to the Jets in a trade that moved New York back up into the first round to select Florida State edge rusher Jermaine Johnson II at pick No. 26 and gave the Titans three picks in return. 

With the 18th pick, the Titans selected receiver Treylon Burks out of Arkansas. Brown was entering the final year of his rookie deal and Robinson preferred a cheaper developmental option instead of paying the certified stud. 

Burks has shown flashes when healthy but has not consistently been on the field. Through the first four games of the season, he had just 10 receptions for 129 yards. He missed the next several weeks with a toe injury, not returning until Week 10. In the three games since his return prior to the Eagles, he had 14 receptions for 205 yards.  He put up over 100 yards against the Packers as well.

He scored his first NFL touchdown on a 25-yard catch in double-coverage against the Eagles. However, he took a big shot to the head while coming down with the ball and was taken out of the game. Whether or not he suffered a concussion has not been officially confirmed. 

The Eagles had no issue paying Brown and signed him to a four-year extension through 2026 with a potential out following the 2024 season. In the first three years with the Eagles, Brown will make slightly over $57.3 million with the potential for another $47 million post-buy-out window. Big money, but Brown has played up to the paycheck this season.

When he was with the Titans, he played in every game as a rookie but missed two games in his sophomore campaign and four last season.

In 12 games this season he has already surpassed all of his marks from his 13 games last year

With 61 receptions, he is nine away from tying his career best. He’s 125 yards away from his season receiving yardage mark and needs just two touchdowns to tie his 2020 total of 11. With five games remaining in the 2022 campaign it’s more than likely he reaches most if not all of those marks.

The Eagles are currently 11-1 and in first place in the NFC

The Titans are 7-5 in first place in the AFC South which is why the firing comes as a semi-surprise. Since hiring Robinson in 2016 the Titans have not had a losing season. The Titans posted four-straight 9-7 records, turning the ship around from 2015’s 3-13 season. The Titans won the AFC South in each of the last two seasons and were the No. 1 seed in last year’s AFC playoffs.

Robinson is largely responsible for bringing the current Titans group together, having drafted 2020 NFL Offensive Player of the Year Derrick Henry and bringing in 2019 Comeback Player of the Year Ryan Tannehill. The Titans have been on the precipice of greatness for the past couple of years but have seemed to come short late in seasons. Losing the offensive firepower that Brown provided was not a step in the right direction. It’s also not the only poor decision Robinson has made, trading for Julio Jones being the first thing that comes to mind. 

Tennessee head coach Mike Vrabel did not agree with the decision to trade Brown and was visibly displeased with the trade on draft night.

After getting torched by the man on Sunday, it’s understandable that it could have put Robinson and Vrabel at ends that could not be abridged. Though Ari Meirov of Pro Football Focus noted that the Titans extended Robinson back in February and that there could be more to the story.

Taking over the interim-GM responsibility will be VP of Player Personnel Ryan Cowden. Cowden joined the organization the same year as Robinson in 2016, but as Director of Player Personnel. Cowden was a big part in identifying players to bring onto the Titans roster during the 2021 season in which they played an NFL-record 91 players on their way to the No. 1 seed in the conference. Prior to the Titans, Cowden served 16 years with the Carolina Panthers in various scouting positions.

With the division lead, the Titans will be focused on the postseason more than anything. Whether or not Cowden is a long-term solution for the Titans and if Robinson will receive another GM opportunity elsewhere will likely not be determined until the offseason.