The main competition for the Indianapolis Colts in the 2021 season will be the Tennessee Titans, as the reigning AFC South champions still have one of the best quarterback-running back-wide receiver trios in football between Ryan Tannehill, 2,000-yard rusher Derrick Henry, and emerging stud AJ Brown.
One issue with Tennessee, however, is the fact that the shrunken cap in 2021 is forcing them to part with studs like Corey Davis and Jonnu Smith.
Davis was just under 1,000 yards last season, while Smith found the end zone nine times.
The Colts have already improved at the quarterback position by adding Carson Wentz, and they look poised to overtake Tennessee in the standings given how both of them are likely turning the page.
ESPN’s Dianna Russini is reporting that both Davis and Smith will not return to the Titans, making this another obstacle in what has already been a very challenging offseason for Mike Vrabel and Tennessee.
After Smith signed a four-year deal with the Patriots, Tennessee’s demise has only gotten worse.
The Indianapolis Colts are poised for a much better season than the Titans.
Tennessee is not only losing some of their key contributors from last year — cornerback Desmond King is a free agent too — but some of their best coaches also aren’t coming back. Offensive coordinator Arthur Smith was named the head coach of the Atlanta Falcons, and Todd Downing simply doesn’t have the same schematic brilliance that Smith possesses.
Tennessee could use their draft picks to address these holes, but their defense was so bad last year that a good chunk of their draft capital could, and likely should, be used to make that unit stronger. The Titans, who drafted Isaiah Wilson in the first round last year, might be a bit skittish about going offense early in 2021.
Indianapolis has the balance on both sides of the ball to really become a force in this division. With Houston currently stepping on a rake and hitting themselves in the face every other week and Jacksonville still a few years away from truly building a contender around Trevor Lawrence, 2021 is Indy’s time to shine.
The Colts have struggled with Tennessee over the years, but that’s about to change. With Smith in New England and Davis not coming back, King Henry’s reign atop the division standings appears to be drawing to a close.