Ran Carthon's final pre-draft say on Titans Derrick Henry, Ryan Tannehill and Kevin Byard

Ran Carthon
  Ran Carthon

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Ran Carthon posed for a picture with a fan at a recent event and she leaned in.

“You better not trade Derrick,” she whispered sternly, Carthon said at his Monday pre-draft press conference. “And she scared the hell out of me because it came from a motherly, authoritative place. I was like, ‘Yes ma'am.’”

Usually, Carthon said, he doesn’t say anything to that common plea about Derrick Henry.

“I just smile and kind of nod and just hope that someone comes in a just kind of saves me,” he said. [Unlocked]

Four days before the draft the media had a final crack at Carthon and a chance to try to glean any final hints about the potential that the Titans will move ahead without Ryan Tannehill, Henry or Kevin Byard – three of their top veterans who also carry three of their top price tags.

The GM was clearly annoyed as a Saturday report that Henry would be traded to Philadelphia. (“There are things I want to say that I won’t,” he said.) It set off a media frenzy and I wrote later in the day that the Titans and Eagles had had zero conversations about the running back.

Carthon said he’s fielded no calls about Henry.

That’s understandable. The productive back is 29, needs a lot of carries and a team acquiring him would be taking on a $10.5 million base salary or have to negotiate a fresh deal to manipulate the number.

As for Tannehill, casual mentions that he could be available are also blowing things up, when it’s been apparent for some time there is a scenario where the Titans would be best off offloading him. If they were to wind up with C.J. Stroud or even Will Levis, they’d want to play the rookie quickly.

But a team acquiring Tannehill would have to deal with a $27 million base salary and that financial element is being waived past by too many conversations about the potential for a deal.

He doesn’t have an actual no-trade clause, but he’d surely want that $27 million on a similar schedule, so he could gum up the works. A trade or release would save the Titans $17.8 million and force them to take an $18.8 million hit unless it was designated as a June 1 move, in which case they’d save $27 million.

With Aaron Rodgers' deal to the Jets complete and QB-needy teams lined up for the top draft prospects, there also is not much of a market for Tannehill.

“Just to let you guys in, Ryan and I had a conversation back in February that was between Ryan and I and Ryan and our organization,” Carthon said. “So Ryan knows where he stands with us and that’s really are that matters to me.”

Team-issued pictures show that Tannehill was part of the start of OTAs on Monday.

Carthon said he talked to Byard about two-and-a-half weeks ago and has been in “constant contact” with his representative. He talked to Henry maybe six weeks ago and to Todd France, his agent.

He’s told all three players to disregard reports that are not rooted in comments from Titans brass.

“If it’s not a direct quote from me, Mike (Vrabel), Amy (Adams Strunk) or anybody, then nine times out of 10 it’s not real,” Carthon said. 

Byard, meanwhile, has not been around for the voluntary sessions, Nick Suss learned from Azeez Al-Shaair.

Kuharsky megaphoneA team trading for Byard, who Carthon said the team did ask to take a pay cut, would be in line for $13.6 million base salaries this year and next. The Titans, meanwhile, would save just under 46 million and eat over $13.5 million.

The base salaries of Tannehill, Henry and Byard would be tough for any team to absorb. Speaking in generalities Carthon talked through how deals that move a big salary work. 

“Traditionally if you’re trading a player and the player is aware that the trade is going down and you give them the permission to talk and from there,” he said, “You let them work on their piece of the deal as long as we have our piece of the deal in place.”

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