Vic Beasley, who led the NFL in sacks as recently as 2016, now finds himself out of a job. The former eighth overall pick lasted a mere five games in Tennessee, struggling to make his presence felt by submitting just three tackles and a forced fumble during that span.
The Titans took on Beasley, a first-team All-Pro selection during his 2016 magnum opus, as a reclamation project this offseason after Atlanta chose not to renew his contract. The sixth-year linebacker had hoped to carve out a role as a situational pass-rusher in the Music City, but the Titans never gave him that chance, ultimately releasing him on Wednesday, as reported by ESPN's Adam Schefter.
“Not every decision that we make works out,” said GM Jon Robinson, acknowledging that, despite Beasley’s past successes, the 28-year-old was never a good fit in Nashville. “We spent a lot of time working with him, trying to get him going. At the end of the day, we thought it was best for us to go in a different direction.”
Beasley’s Tennessee tenure may have been doomed from the start. The Clemson alum inexplicably blew off mandatory COVID testing, which led to him getting a late start at Titans training camp this summer. Beasley’s no-show also took a chunk out of his wallet, costing him $500,000 in fines. That stunt put Beasley on thin ice while Jadeveon Clowney’s arrival on the eve of the regular season further obscured the former first-round pick’s path to consistent usage. After five listless appearances, the Titans decided they had seen enough.
It’s been a long, hard fall for Beasley who, at one time, was considered among the league’s premier pass-rushers. The 6’3” Beasley delivered a sophomore campaign for the ages in 2016, recording 15.5 sacks (the second-highest single-season total in franchise history) and six forced fumbles while helping Atlanta reach its first Super Bowl since 1998.
We all know how that game ended (the Falcons’ infamous second-half collapse against New England will never be lived down), but at that juncture, Beasley appeared to be a rising talent on a superstar trajectory. But instead of building off his monster 2016, Beasley regressed badly, totaling a combined 18 sacks over his final three seasons in Atlanta before settling for a one-year prove-it deal (albeit a lucrative one at $9.5 million) in Tennessee.
Beasley’s days of being an elite starter may be behind him, though his Pro Bowl pedigree and respectable 2019 output (eight sacks) should land him another NFL opportunity at some point.