Tennessee Titans general manager Jon Robinson played down the likelihood of a trade centered around star wide receiver A.J. Brown before the 2022 NFL draft.
Robinson told reporters Thursday he "[does] not foresee that happening." He added that discussions with Brown over a new contract remain ongoing:
Jon Robinson on A.J. Brown: <br><br>"We've had some discussions with A.J. reps, and I talked to him when he was here a few weeks ago. Not going to talk about contract negotiations publicly". <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Titans?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Titans</a>
ESPN's Dianna Russini reported on Monday the Titans and Brown's representatives "are working towards an extension for A.J. Brown to remain a Titan for a long time."
The 2020 Pro Bowler deployed the tactic that's increasingly becoming the go-to strategy for disgruntled stars: scrubbing any reference to his current team from social media.
ESPN's Adam Schefter also reported Brown was among the notable wideouts who would be missing for the start of offseason workouts.
For the time being, it doesn't appear Brown's relationship with the Titans has reached a point of no return, though. The 24-year-old hasn't requested a trade from the team, a step Deebo Samuel took with the San Francisco 49ers.
While Robinson has maintained the franchise's desire to keep Brown around, the draft might serve as a better barometer for Tennessee's intentions.
Watching the 2022 draft pass by and then trading Brown wouldn't make much sense because the Titans will have lost the opportunity to identify an immediate replacement. Moving him between now and April 28 would give the front office a higher level of certainty about the value of its newfound draft capital, too.
Should a trade not materialize, it stands to reason the Titans are serious about wanting to sign Brown to a lucrative extension.
If that's the case, then there's still a clear incentive to get something done sooner rather than later.
Tyreek Hill and Davante Adams reset the receiver market with their new deals this offseason and raised the going rate for proven wideouts.
Brown, who has 185 receptions for 2,995 yards and 24 touchdowns in his career, shouldn't theoretically surpass Hill's $30 million average salary because he doesn't boast the same kind of resume.
But when Deebo Samuel and Terry McLaurin are both slated to hit free agency in 2023, the cost of an extension for Brown is likely to climb even higher if the Titans are unable to get anything done before next spring.