Heading into the NFL Combine, it would've been fair to look at the AFC South and feel like only one team had their starting quarterback settled for the 2023 season. That would be the reigning division champion Jacksonville Jaguars, who will continue to roll with Trevor Lawrence after a breakout season for the former No. 1 overall pick (4,113 yards, 25 touchdowns, 8 interceptions, 95.4 passer rating).
But after an avalanche of press conferences on Tuesday, it sounds like we can add a second team to that settled-at-quarterback mix: The Tennessee Titans.
"I know everybody wants to make a big deal out of the quarterback position and whether he will or won't be here, but you guys just have to accept the fact that Ryan (Tannehill) is under contract for us," Titans general manager Ran Carthon said. "Right now, he's a Titan and he will be a Titan."
The Titans went 6-6 with Tannehill as their starting quarterback in 2022, and he completed 65 percent of his passes for 2,536 yards (7.8 yards/attempt) with 13 touchdowns, six interceptions and a passer rating of 94.6. He sustained what ultimately was a season-ending ankle injury in Week 15, which came in the middle of Tennessee's seven-game losing streak to end 2022.
Tannehill will be 35 years old when the 2023 season begins. The Titans selected quarterback Malik Willis in the third round of the 2022 NFL Draft, but he did not start several must-win games down the stretch, with Tennessee turning to Josh Dobbs – who they signed off the Pittsburgh Steelers' practice squad in December.
As expected, Houston Texans general manager Nick Caserio kept things close to the vest when asked about his plans with the No. 2 overall pick, and which draft-eligible quarterbacks he may or may not like here at the NFL Combine. But with only Davis Mills under contract, Caserio stressed the Texans will add to their quarterback depth chart – but there isn't necessarily one way they'll go about it.
"We know we're going to add to this position," Caserio said. We have one player on the roster currently. I would say it's probably going to be a combination of the Draft, two free agency. It could be two, however it goes. We're going to look at whatever resources we have available to us, try to make the right decision.
"But really it's about the total team building process. It's not really about one position. We're going to be very thoughtful, and we're going to take our time to try and make good decisions all throughout the spring."
That's all to say nothing is guaranteed with how the Texans will approach adding quarterbacks in the coming weeks and months. Could they draft a quarterback No. 2 overall? Could they trade up to No. 1? Could they pass on a quarterback at No. 2 and trade back into the top five or six to draft one, leveraging the No. 12 overall pick and their two first-round picks in the 2024 NFL Draft? Could they not draft a quarterback at all in 2023 and look to the 2024 NFL Draft instead? Could they sign one of the veteran free agents available or make a big-splash trade for an established starter? Could they do a combination of any of these scenarios?
On March 1, it's too early to say any of those things will or won't happen.
One more notable thing on Tuesday came from Jacksonville Jaguars general manager Trent Baalke. In Baalke's first two years as general manager, the Jaguars were extremely active in free agency, signing several players to pricey, multi-year contracts: Wide receivers Christian Kirk, Marvin Jones and Zay Jones, guard Brandon Scherff, defensive lineman Folorunso Fatukasi and Roy Robertson-Harris, linebacker Foyesade Oluokun, cornerbacks Dariuos Williams and Shaquill Griffin, safety Rayshawn Jenkins and return ace Jamal Agnew.
After winning the AFC South in 2022, and with a group of emerging, young players – like Lawrence, running back Travis Etienne, defensive ends Josh Allen and Travon Walker and cornerback Tyson Campbell, among others – the Jaguars aren't likely to be nearly as active in free agency as they were in years past.
"We have a nice core of young players," Baalke said. "We feel really good about that group with a good mix of veteran guys with a lot of experience. The whole thing for us now is about the locker room, making sure we keep the locker room where we've got it."
We'll hear from Colts general manager Chris Ballard and head coach Shane Steichen on Wednesday afternoon at the Indianapolis Convention Center. Here's how you can watch the live stream of both press conferences on Colts.com, the Colts App and across the Colts' social media platforms.