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A.J. Brown

It was but one week ago that Tennessee Titans General Manager Jon Robinson told reporters during his pre-draft press conference that he did not foresee trading A.J. Brown.

Fast forward seven days and the Titans dropped a bombshell on draft night, sending the 24-year-old wideout to the Philadelphia Eagles for picks No. 18 and 101 — the former was used to draft Brown’s replacement, Arkansas WR Treylon Burks.

So, what happened? 

Like most things, it came down to money. 

"I wanted to stay, but the deal they offered was a low offer," Brown told ESPN's Turron Davenport following the trade. "The deal they offered wasn't even $20 million a year."

According to Davenport, the Titans offered Brown a contract that averaged $16 million per year with incentives that brought the average annual value up to $20 million per year.

Brown admitted that he would've signed for $22 million AAV, right around his projected market value according to Spotrac, but instead the former second-round pick was sent to Philly and promptly signed a four-year, $100 million contract extension, which included $57 million guaranteed.

Robinson disclosed Thursday night that the soaring dollar value of wide receiver contracts being handed out this offseason had raised the bar to a level that he wasn’t comfortable with. The $25 million per year the Eagles gave Brown had become too rich for Robinson’s blood.

“We got to a spot where it was going to be hard to get a deal done,” Robinson said. “The trade thing kind of manifested itself from then; we really started working on that in the last 18-20 hours and it came together pretty quickly this afternoon.”

Brown quickly took to social media to speak his peace on the matter, stating in a since-deleted tweet, “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.” 

Outplaying his rookie contract, Brown was clearly due for a sizeable raise from the $3.89 million he was set to make in 2022. The fourth-year wideout chose not to attend any of Tennessee’s offseason workout programs until he had a new contract in tow. 

Brown told ESPN’s Turron Davenport on Thursday that the Titans offer to him was too low. Robinson didn’t seem to want to budge from the reported $20 million per year contract Brown was offered, and the Titans ultimately decided in the hours leading up to Round 1 of the draft that a mutual parting was best for all involved.

“I’m confident that we went to the extreme to try to keep A.J. here,” Titans head coach Mike Vrabel said. “…This is just another example of making tough decisions that hopefully, in the long run, [are] going to make our team better. I know that it probably doesn’t get received by that publicly, but this was a difficult process to get through and I know what the gap that we had to bridge was. This wasn’t easy.”

In Burks, Tennessee now has a younger, cheaper version of Brown to pair with Austin Hooper, Robert Woods and Nick Westbrook-Ikhine. And Brown got his payday after all.

Follow Michael Gallagher on Twitter @MGsports_