Rapoport mentions that Sharpe will “likely” be the number two receiver in Minnesota behind Adam Thielen and that’s what this is ultimately about. The Titans might have wanted Sharpe back — he was a perfectly fine rotational receiver — but he was never going to be more than the fourth option at wide receiver for Tennessee in 2020 behind A.J. Brown, Corey Davis, and Adam Humphries.
After trading Stefon Diggs and watching Laquon Treadwell leave in free agency for the Falcons, Minnesota had very little left in their receiver depth chart. I would suspect that we will see them select at least one receiver very early in the draft next month and that may end up bumping Sharpe back down the pecking order, but he’ll at least have a better path to playing time for the Vikings than he would have found here.
A fifth round pick in 2016 out of UMass, Sharpe was a success here even if he peaked statistically during his rookie season. After missing the 2017 season with a lingering foot injury, he bounced back over the last two years to post respectable seasons as a rotational option in the Titans offense.
Sharpe was a reliable route runner with great hands and good feet when making catches along the sidelines. However, his upside is severely limited by his lack of ability to create separation against man coverage and inability to create after the catch. He’s probably best suited to a complementary role with at least two better pass catching options ahead of him on the roster.
With Sharpe officially out of the mix, the Titans will have Kalif Raymond, Cameron Batson, Cody Hollister, Rashard Davis, and Trevion Thompson under contract for 2020 behind the three starters. Hollister is the guy that is most like Sharpe from a skill set standpoint. He was good in preseason action and he made a couple regular season catches after getting promoted from the practice squad late in the season.
The Titans will likely add one player here from a loaded draft for receivers. With Corey Davis’ fifth year option unlikely to be picked up in May, it would be wise to get a young receiver in the building who could potentially step into a starting role in 2021 and beyond. The team could still opt to re-sign Davis long term, but it seems like a good opportunity for Jon Robinson to hedge his bets at this position.
Sharpe’s contract details are not available as of this writing, but if the number is pretty strong, he could yield a compensatory pick in the 2021 draft for the Titans.