The Tennessee Titans have decided to part ways with edge rusher Vic Beasley and defensive back Johnathan Joseph, the team announced Tuesday. Both had been signed to one-year deals in the offseason and were deemed unnecessary post-NFL trade deadline.
Beasley, 28, signed a one-year deal worth $9.5 million in March of 2020. The former No. 8 overall selection was a late arrival to Titans training camp and quickly made himself a distraction. Although he has appeared in five games, the Clemson product recorded just three tackles and one forced fumble. Tennessee was hoping that the free agent from Atlanta would provide a spark to the pass rush but, after seven games, the Titans are tied for the third fewest sacks in the NFL (7).
The 36-year-old Joseph played in all seven games for the Titans this season, and had recorded 28 combined tackles, four passes defensed and one interception. The former first-round pick had a rough outing against his former team in Week 8, however, which would explain why the team made the decision to move on from him this week.
In the Titans’ 31-20 loss to the Bengals, rookie quarterback Joe Burrow completed 26 of 37 passes for 249 yards and two touchdowns. While that stat line may not make your head spin, Burrow was not sacked once and accomplished whatever he wanted against Tennessee’s secondary — especially when it came to targeting Joseph. According to ESPN’s Ben Baby, when Joseph was the nearest defender on Sunday, Bengals wideouts caught 10 of 13 passes for 104 yards and a touchdown, via NFL Next Gen Stats.
The Titans do have some reinforcements coming in at cornerback to take Joseph’s place. Starting cornerback Adoree’ Jackson, who was placed on injured reserve earlier this season with a knee injury, may return for the Titans’ Week 9 matchup against the Chicago Bears, and Tennessee also traded for former Los Angeles Chargers cornerback Desmond King.
The former All-Pro King recorded 24 tackles and a sack in six games for the Chargers this season, while also returning six punts for 17 yards. King was originally drafted by the Chargers in the fifth round of the 2017 NFL Draft, and should come in and play immediately. The Titans rank in the bottom six in the NFL in pass yards and pass touchdowns allowed, so King will have a chance to improve this defense as a whole.
Tennessee has two upcoming home games against the Bears and Colts.