For the fourth time in 2016, the Tennessee Titans have pulled off a trade that no one saw coming.
Today the Titans announced that wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham had been traded to Philadelphia for guard / tackle Dennis Kelly.
Yes, Tennessee’s veteran wide receivers have failed to separate themselves from the newcomers so far in training camp, but last year’s second round pick…for a backup offensive lineman?
From social media to Nashville sports radio, fans and pundits alike weighed in on general manager Jon Robinson’s latest move.
A slight majority sided with DGB, and their points were valid.
*The wide receiver position isn’t talented enough to release a player with his size and athleticism.
*A year and two weeks of training camp is a bit of a quick hook for a second round pick.
*He had over 500 yards receiving, and 30 of his 32 catches were first down conversions last season. Not bad for a rookie.
All true statements, but when you look at the big picture the Titans made the right move.
For starters, the Titans are trying to create a new culture in the locker room, and one of the ways to accomplish that goal (according to Robinson) was to make the players feel uncomfortable.
Uncomfortable in the sense that no player should feel like their job is safe, and an atmosphere like that creates a spirit of competition on the practice field and in games.
What better way to drive that point home than to ship someone off that thought they were untouchable.
And DGB allowed himself to be the perfect scapegoat.
All summer long word out of Titans camp was that Dorial Green-Beckham was still making way too many mental errors, and was showing little progress from last year’s camp.
Just last Tuesday head coach Mike Mularkey was critical of not only DGB’s play, but also his work ethic and perceived willingness to get better.
Now c’mon, we all have jobs. We know it’s never a good sign when your boss calls you out in front of your colleagues for your lack of effort and concentration.
But I digress.
DGB was not improving, and if you read between the coach’s lines he was not too concerned about it, either. That “I’m not going anywhere” type of mentality can set in for a second round pick, especially one in just his second year.
And that kind of mentality can also poison a locker room.
If Jon Robinson had to trade away Green-Beckham to send a message to every veteran on the roster, then the end should justify the means.
On the field the trade makes sense, too.
No, you’re not getting back a Pro Bowl player if you’re the Titans, but you are getting in return a versatile lineman that can play guard and/or tackle.
Byron Bell was that key component to the offensive line last season, and was set to do so again in 2016 before a nasty ankle injury in mini-camp cost him his season.
Dennis Kelly can step in and be that plug-n-play guy to fill holes throughout the season. A backup with a season’s worth of starting experience is a vital piece of insurance.
On the other hand, as it stood yesterday, DGB was fourth or fifth on the depth chart. With a run first offense and Pro Bowl tight end, there will be few impact plays left for him…even if he was consistent.
I think that today’s trade was another shrewd move by Robinson, and I don’t think he’s done.