Jurrell Casey looks to go from Tennessee Titans’ “trash” to Denver Broncos’ treasure.
NFL defensive lineman Jurrell Casey has spent each of his nine seasons in the league with the Tennessee Titans. Since joining the team as a third-round pick in 2011, Casey had been one of the few consistencies on an otherwise shaky Tennessee roster. On a team that has gone through four head coaches and have made the playoffs just twice in his time with the Titans, Casey has stuck though some pretty bleak times.
In 2014 and 2015, the Tennessee Titans mustered a record of just 5-27. Since then, the team has been right at 9-7 year-after-year. This season, however, Casey, Derrick Henry, and Ryan Tannehill helped lead the team on a very impressive playoff run that almost ended in Miami with a Super Bowl appearance.
But after blowing an early lead to Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game, the Tennessee Titans headed into the offseason. One of their first moves? Trading Jurrell Casey for a seventh-round pick from the Denver Broncos, where Casey will face Mahomes at least twice a year.
Why Casey felt so slighted by the Tennessee Titans
During those bleak, struggling times for the Tennessee Titans, Jurrell Casey seemed to be one of the very few bright spots. In 2011, Casey came in and immediately started 15 games for Tennessee. Over the course of his career, he has started at least 14 games each and every season of his tenure in Nashville.
Furthermore, as of this past season, Casey was voted a captain six consecutive seasons and to the Pro Bowl five times in a row. Casey has been a consistent presence for the Tennessee Titans on the field, in the locker room, and in Hawaii (and now Florida).
Casey’s play on the field has backed up the attention and accolades that he has received. In every season since 2013, Casey has registered double-digit quarterback hits and at least five sacks. In his career so far he has totaled 51 sacks which is top five in Tennessee Titans history.
Needless to say, Casey was a fixture of the Tennessee Titans for years when the team was struggling. He likely could have gone elsewhere and found more success, but he thought it was important to stay loyal to his team.
Clearly Casey does not feel that his loyalty was reciprocated, expressing that he feels GM Jon Robinson, head coach Mike Vrabel, and the Tennessee Titans threw him away “like a piece of trash.”
After sticking by his team through all the struggles that they endured, it’s understandable for Casey to be frustrated by his trade when the team was so close to the ultimate prize. He helped the organization build to what it is today, and now he’s being kicked out the door.
Will Casey find similar success with the Denver Broncos?
Now that Jurrell Casey has found a new home with the Denver Broncos, the question arises: will he be able to replicate his past success? I, personally, don’t see any reason why he couldn’t.
Despite being a seasoned veteran of the National Football League, Casey is still only 30 years old. I’m not necessarily saying that his best football is ahead of him, but Casey has proven that he can sustain his level of success from a very young age to now, and I believe that he can compete at that same level for another handful of years.
Casey has made five straight Pro Bowls with the Tennessee Titans. In Nashville, Casey always seemed to be THE guy on the defensive front. He was typically the best player and the focal point of the defensive line, allowing teams to focus on stopping him as priority number one.
The Denver Broncos have a couple of guys named Von Miller and Bradley Chubb on the edge that opposing offenses will have to focus on if they want to keep their quarterback upright. This should allow Casey to see many more one-on-one blocks than I’m sure he’s used to, allowing him to make maybe an even bigger impact on the game.
While you may think that there aren’t enough sacks to go around for Miller, Chubb, and Casey on the Denver Broncos defense, Casey’s game has never been about filling the stat sheet. Play-after-play, Jurrell Casey makes an impact. Whether it’s taking on a double team to allow a linebacker to shoot a hole and make a play, shedding a block and slowing down a ball carrier or pressuring the quarterback and forcing an inaccurate throw, Casey’s presence is always felt.
John Elway and the Denver Broncos clearly liked Casey well enough to take on his contract where he will be making upwards of $11 million a year over the next three seasons. And head coach and defensive guru Vic Fangio will certainly love having another versatile weapon to creatively deploy.
While the Tennessee Titans will now be relying on 2019 first-round pick Jeffery Simmons to fill the void left by Casey, also likely starting NFL veteran Jack Crawford as the other 3-4 defensive end, Casey will surely be starting in Denver.
For just a seventh-round pick, the Denver Broncos got a veteran leader and Pro Bowl player to add to their already stout defensive front. Casey and the rest of the Bronco brigade will have to get after the likes of Patrick Mahomes often if they want to make an AFC Championship Game appearance of their own in 2020.
But with the talent they already have, adding a savvy veteran who clearly has a chip on his shoulder may be just what the doctor ordered for this young Denver Broncos team.
Oh, and if you didn’t catch it in the tweet above, Jurrell Casey and his Denver Broncos will take on his former Tennessee Titans week one of the NFL season on Monday Night Football. Get your popcorn ready.