Jim Wyatt, SENIOR WRITER/EDITOR
NASHVILLE – When free agency began, receiver Adam Humphries had options.
At the beginning, his agent heard from the Titans, among others. He ultimately picked Tennessee and agreed to a deal. Humphries considered a number of factors before making a decision, he said on Thursday.
Humphries felt a comfort level with the team, and he remembers hearing stories about Titans General Manager Jon Robinson “standing on the table for me” while the two were with the Buccaneers – Robinson in the front office, and Humphries an undrafted free agent at the time, in 2015.
But even after he’d made his commitment, the overtures – and offers – didn’t stop. The defending Super Bowl champions, the New England Patriots, wanted him.
Humphries proved to be a man of his word.
“I was weighing the options between both teams, and obviously they have a lot of success with guys similar to me,” Humphries said. “When I committed to Tennessee, obviously I am a man of my word, and I am going to keep my word there. It is tough, and it is a big decision, and it is a decision that will impact me for the rest of my life.
“I took a lot of thought into that, and having family around me was good. But once I committed to Tennessee I was really excited to be a Titan, and I still am.”
The Titans are glad they got him.
In four seasons with the Buccaneers, Humphries developed into one of the league’s most dependable slot receivers, getting better each year.
In 2018, the 25-year-old Humphries had a career high in receptions (76), receiving yards (816) and receiving touchdowns (five). The 5-foot-11, 195-pounder became Tampa Bay’s top slot receiver while catching 219 passes for 2,329 yards and nine touchdowns over the last four seasons.
He expects to play primarily in the slot in Tennessee, but said he’ll play wherever the team needs him in an offense led by quarterback Marcus Mariota.
“I’m excited to work with him,” Humphries said of Mariota. “I got a text from him a couple of days ago — he is down in Hawaii working out – and I have heard nothing but good things about him. He can obviously get the ball out of his hands quick, and I am looking forward to creating a relationship with him, getting a lot of good work with him this offseason, and hopefully translate that into Sundays.”
Humphries, who earned a job in Tampa Bay during a tryout at rookie minicamp in 2015, has posted some impressive numbers.
In 2018, among wide receivers aligned in slot, Humphries was:
-1st in receiving first downs (42)
-T-2nd (Juju Smith-Schuster) in receptions (59), trailing Adam Thielen (69)
-5th in receiving yards (666)
-2nd in total yards after catch (319), behind Smith-Schuster
-9th in average yards after catch (5.4)
Since 1970, Humphries ranks third in receptions and seventh in receiving yards among undrafted receivers in their first four NFL seasons. The only undrafted NFL player in 2018 with more receptions and receiving yards than Humphries was Vikings Pro Bowl receiver Adam Thielen.
Humphries said he’s ready to put the work in, and he plans to put extra time in with Mariota, like he did with quarterback Jameis Winston in Tampa Bay. Humphries called running back Derrick Henry “a beast” and he also singled out playmakers like tight end Delanie Walker and receiver Corey Davis when discussing his familiarity with the team.
He said he’ll bring the underdog mentality he developed as a two-star recruit coming out of high school to his next NFL stop, in Tennessee.
“Even after this contract, I am going to have a chip on my shoulder wherever I go, every time I step on the field,” Humphries said. “That’s just my mentality, to get better every year and not let haters or anyone affect me. I am going to continue to work hard.
“(The Titans) needed some help in the receiving room and hopefully I can come in the slot and be of help, and help move the chains. I am excited to be here. Nashville is an awesome city. I am happy to be a part of it and hopefully propel this team to some playoff runs, some wins.”