The Denver Broncos have had an eventful offseason, but one of their more was sending a seventh-round pick to the Tennessee Titans for Pro Bowl defensive lineman Jurrell Casey. It was clearly a salary dump, as the 30-year-old was due around $11.7 million in 2020 (via Spotrac), and $5.45 million of that became fully guaranteed in March. By moving him, the Titans got out from under playing that guaranteed money and cleared the $11.7 million off their cap.
Casey had spent his entire career with the Titans, and was selected in the third round of the 2011 NFL Draft out of USC. He quickly became a starter on defense and then eventually evolved into a key player along the defensive line. The 3-4 base defensive end started in 137 of his 139 games played for the Titans. According to Pro Football Focus, Casey has turned in a 70 or higher grade in all nine of his season in the NFL, has recorded 51 total sacks and made five straight Pro Bowls.
During a recent appearance on the Double Coverage Podcast, hosted by Devin McCourty and Jason McCourty of the New England Patriots, Casey revealed that it took him some time to get over the fact that the Titans did not return the loyalty he had shown them throughout his career.
"The part that is so crazy is that you give so much to them," said Casey. "Especially the way it was going when we were 2-14, 3-13. Those were some rough times. When you're a loyal guy and you feel like things are going in the right direction and you're that centerpiece, you got no choice but to fight it through. My mindset was to stick it out, ride with it and things would get better. For us to get to that point to get better and to be a main focus of that and then you just throw me to the trash like I wasn't a main block of that. Coming off an injury the year before and playing the whole season for ya'll. No complaints, did everything you wanted me to do and you throw me like a piece of trash. That's the piece that hurts the most. At the end of the day, none of these businesses are loyal."
A seventh-round pick certainly seems like a small price to pay for a legitimate starter and someone who had help the Titans reach a new level of success. Casey suffered through four losing campaigns in his nine seasons -- including a 5-27 stretch from 2014-15.
Casey said that when he found out the Titans were shopping him, "it was a blow to the heart." According to him, Casey didn't get another call until "about 30 seconds" before the trade went down.
"For three or four days, I probably had some moments where I probably had to tell the wife give me a minute and I let a lot of tears come on out of there," said Casey.
While he was offended with how this process went, Casey is looking forward to his new situation with the Broncos.
"God made things happen for a reason man," said Casey. "He put me in a great position to go do great things and Denver has welcomed me with open arms, so that's all I could ask for."