The Tennessee Titans paid a steep price to take receiver Dez Fitzpatrick in the fourth round of the 2021 NFL Draft, parting with fifth- and seventh-round picks to jump from selection No. 126 to No. 109.
Two seasons and five games later, Fitzpatrick is no longer in Tennessee after signing a futures deal with the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Titans confirmed on Wednesday.
Fitzpatrick failed to make the Titans 53-man roster out of camp his rookie year, spending most of the season on the practice squad. Injuries to teammates created an opportunity for him crack the lineup in four games that year, but his five receptions, 49 yards and a touchdown failed to make an impression.
Fitzpatrick was the victim of another numbers game again this season, beginning the year on the practice squad after an unsuccessful training camp battle in a crowded receiver group with Robert Woods, Treylon Burks, Nick Westbrook-Ikhine, Kyle Philips, Racey McMath, Cody Hollister and Mason Kinsey.
Over the last two preseasons, Fitzpatrick registered just eight combined receptions on 15 targets for 120 yards and a touchdown. And he failed to live up to the potential Tennessee saw in him when it jumped 17 spots to grab him, passing over Amon-Ra St. Brown, who has totaled 196 receptions, 2,073 yards and 11 touchdowns in his first two seasons with the Detroit Lions.
In Pittsburgh, Fitzpatrick likely stands a better shot of making the active roster. After trading Chase Claypool to the Bears midseason, the Steelers have very little behind top wideouts Dionte Johnson and George Pickens. The team’s No. 3-6 receivers combined for just 34 targets, 22 receptions and 170 yards.
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