The Titans didn’t envision trading A.J. Brown. It was only three weeks ago that Mike Vrabel declared that the star receiver wasn’t going on the trade block “as long as I’m head coach.”
On Thursday night, the Titans traded Brown to the Eagles.
General Manager Jon Robinson said the trade came together in the last 18-20 hours after the Titans realized they couldn’t “bridge the gap” with Brown’s representation. Soon after the trade was announced, Brown had a four-year, $100 million extension with $57 million guaranteed.
“The decision we made today, it was a tough one,” Robinson said, via Jim Wyatt of the team website. “We really appreciate what A.J. has done here for our football team, on the field and in the community. We had discussions back and forth and we realized we got to the point where it was going to be hard to get a deal done (to keep him). So, the trade thing kind of manifested.”
The Titans drafted Brown in 2019, and his contract was scheduled to expire after the 2022 season. He had not been participating in the team’s offseason program as he awaited a long-term deal.
Brown joins Davante Adams, Tyreek Hill and Marquise Brown as another big-name receiver traded this offseason.
“These are the decisions I am faced with, and they are hard decisions,” Robison said. “There’s a lot of discussion that goes into them, a lot of thought that goes into them. At the end of the day, we have to make – I have to make – the hard decisions. And there’s a lot of things that impact those decisions. Certainly, the finances impact the decisions and trying to get value when we can. And that’s the decision we made today.”
Brown ends his career in Tennessee with 185 receptions for 2,995 yards and 24 touchdowns. In 2021, Brown caught 63 passes for 869 yards and five scores.
“I love all of our players – I love A.J. personally,” Vrabel said. “I know how Jon feels about him. But I am very comfortable with how this went down and how Jon and I were able to navigate. I try to support him and make decisions. Unfortunately, we understand if we are going to be here a while, we are not going to be able to keep every single player that we draft and develop.”