After earning five Pro Bowl berths during his nine-year run with the Tennessee Titans, Jurrell Casey saw his tenure with the organization come to an unceremonious end in March, when the defensive tackle was traded to the Denver Broncos for a seventh-round pick.
That move didn’t sit well with Casey, who on Sunday night likened the move to being discarded “like a piece of trash.”
Casey made the comments on New England Patriots defensive backs Jason and Devin McCourty’s “Double Coverage” podcast.
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“The part that is so crazy is that you give so much to them. Especially when you come up on free agency and have opportunities to go somewhere else. Especially the way it was going when we were there, 2-14, 3-13,” Casey said. “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 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 away 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 y’all, no complaints. I did everything you wanted me to do and you throw me like a piece of trash. At the end of the day, none of these businesses are loyal.”
Casey, 30, was a first-round pick of the Titans in 2011 and immediately took on a starting role. He became a leading force for the defense, compiling 51 sacks, including at least five in each of the last seven years.
After four losing seasons from 2012-15, Tennessee notched 9-7 campaigns for the last four years. A breakthrough arrived last year in the form of the team’s run to the AFC Championship Game before falling to the eventual Super Bowl-champion Kansas City Chiefs.
Casey, however, was due to carry a cap hit of nearly $11.8 million in 2020. For an organization that earlier in the offseason gave quarterback Ryan Tannehill a four-year $118 million contract extension and issued the franchise tag to running back Derrick Henry, that figure might have been prohibitive.
General manager Jon Robinson said the team felt it was “time for us to go a different direction” at the position.
“Anytime you have a player that’s drafted to a team that’s performed at a really high level – we’ve got a ton of respect for Jurrell and his family and everything that he did for the organization,” Robinson said in April.
In Denver, Casey joins a defense headlined by outside linebackers Von Miller and Bradley Chubb. The Broncos also acquired cornerback A.J. Bouye from the Jacksonville Jaguars this offseason.
“We’re excited about [how it] unfolded,” Broncos general manager John Elway told the team’s website in March. “You never know. We still have to go win football games. But it was a good start for us this offseason with A.J. Bouye, trading for him at the corner position and then Jurrell Casey, trading for him at the defensive tackle position that we needed and steal a very, very good football player, a five-time Pro Bowler.”