Fans expected all healthy Titans to be on hand for the first day of minicamp Tuesday, but there was a notable player missing.  Star left tackle Taylor Lewan was not present as he enters his final season under contract.  General Manager Jon Robinson picked up Lewan’s fifth-year player option last year to keep him for the upcoming season. However, both sides are looking for a long-term deal heading into this season.

Taylor Lewan and Jon Robinson

“As we start the mandatory veteran mini-camp, we were informed by the representatives for Taylor Lewan that he would not be attending the camp,” Robinson said in a statement Tuesday. “We have had several constructive conversations over the last 5-6 weeks about his contract status.  He is currently under contract and we are working to keep Taylor as part of this organization for a long time.”

His absence is notable, but should not set off alarms for Titans fans.  He is a key piece of an improved Titans roster, becoming a fan favorite in the city of Nashville.  More on his importance to the team and city, as well as his contract expectations, can be found here.

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Missing mini-camp contradicts statements Lewan has made over the past month about his contract situation.  He said nothing has been done about it and he would continue to focus on his play on the field.  Lewan was present for the Titans’ previous OTA’s over the past couple of weeks.  However, by missing the first day of mandatory mini-camp he and his representatives want to make a statement.  The 11th pick in the NFL Draft has become a pro-bowl left tackle for Tennessee proving his worth as the protector of the blindside.

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Lewan’s holdout comes in the midst of three other high profile absences from minicamps.  The Giants’ Odell Beckham Jr., Rams’ Aaron Donald, and Falcons’ Julio Jones all missed mandatory mini-camps this week.  The situation with Lewan should sort itself out sooner rather than later as both sides seem motivated to get a deal done.  A key roadblock may have appeared after Nate Solder signed his big contract earlier in the offseason.  In order to become the highest paid tackle in the league last year, he would have been paid close to $14 million per year.  Solder signed a deal worth north of $15 million per year with the Giants and raised Lewan’s price tag considerably.  Lewan deserves to be paid as an elite left tackle, but the extra money may have made negotiations more difficult.

Lewan Staying Close to Home

It was revealed late Tuesday night through social media that Lewan still spent his day close to Nashville football.  The tackle spent the afternoon with the Vanderbilt football team according to head coach Derek Mason; not to be confused with former Titans’ receiver Derrick Mason.  Lewan staying close to the Titans facility and the city is a good sign that this holdout could be shortlived.

Taylor Lewan holding out is obviously not the ideal situation for the Titans.  However, he deserves to be paid like a top-tier tackle and could be soon.  Jon Robinson has made it clear he is committed to keeping him a Titan for years to come.  Not arriving at mini-camp is not the end of the world, but should put enough pressure on the general manager to get a deal done.

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