By Terrance Turner
April 28, 2022
In a shock trade during the NFL draft, the Tennessee Titans have traded wide receiver A.J. Brown to the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for two draft picks. After trading up to select Jordan Davis at No. 13 overall, the Eagles dealt away their No. 18 and No. 101 draft picks in exchange for Brown.
Additionally, the Eagles signed Brown to a massive new extension: a four-year, $100 million contract with the Eagles that includes $57 million guaranteed, sources told ESPN‘s Kimberley Martin. Brown, 24, was entering the final year of his rookie deal.
Brown had 63 catches for 869 yards and five touchdowns in 13 games last season. He surpassed the 1,000-yard receiving mark in each of his first two seasons with Tennessee, including a 70-catch, 1,075-yard campaign in 2020 when he hauled in a career-best 11 TDs.
The two sides began engaging in trade talks around the time of the NFL Scouting Combine. The receiver and team were at odds over the terms of the deal, prompting Brown to not participate in on-field work during the offseason program as he awaited a second contract. Fans began to perceive Brown as being difficult or a bad teammate. A frustrated Brown went to social media. “I’m a diva and a bad teammate all of sudden, lol ok,” Brown tweeted. “Do what you have to do then and so will I.”
Earlier this week, it was reported that Brown and the Titans were on the same page. ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler said that Brown had “been in touch with coaches, and everyone is in a good place.” But tonight, after initially indicating that they wouldn’t trade Brown, the Titans blindsided NFL fans by trading him away.
Brown updated his social media almost immediately, posting a picture of himself in an Eagles uniform. He tweeted a farewell to Tennessee tonight: “Tennessee I love you and you will forever be in my heart and I can say this now… THIS WAS NOT MY FAULT. But I wish you all the best.”
Brown reiterated that point during an interview with ESPN. “This wasn’t my fault,” Brown told ESPN. “I wanted to stay, but the deal they offered was a low offer. The deal they offered wasn’t even $20 million a year.”
Brown said the Titans’ offer topped out at $16 million per season with incentives that would have driven the deal up to a $20 million average. At 24 years old, Brown was entering the final year of his rookie contract, which would have paid him around $4 million in 2022. (Brown had 63 catches for 869 yards and five touchdowns in 13 games last season.)
UPDATE (May 3, 2022): Today, Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill broke his silence on the trade. “I was shocked. When I first found out, I’m like, ‘This isn’t real, this isn’t happening, it’s a rumor,'” Tannehill said, per NFL.com. “And then, I talked to A.J. and found out it was real. I slept terrible that night and kept thinking it was just a bad dream, but that’s where we’re at.”
“Professionally, it hurt,” Tannehill said, via Turron Davenport of ESPN.com. “Top target, heckuva football player, made big plays for us consistently over the last three years. Personally, it hurt. A.J.’s a good friend. Have a lot of great times, great memories on and off the field with him. Not being able to see him on a daily basis is going to be different, going to be hard. Happy to see him get what he wanted, but, at the end of the day, it hurts.”