Are we tired of the AJ Brown trade rumors yet? Even if you are there is no need to worry because Jon Robinson and the rest of the Tennessee Titans front office have made it more than clear that they are not dealing their franchise wideout.
If anything, you can expect the Titans to lock Brown up sooner rather than later, as their plan has always been to give him a new contract before the season starts.
So, you have the GM saying that he wants to do a deal, the HC saying that he won’t trade A.J. Brown as long as he is the HC of the Tennessee Titans, but maybe you think that the best Ole Miss product in a decade wants out of Nashville?
Nope. It seems like A.J. Brown wants to stay in Tennessee as well. Not only has he been vocal about wanting to stay in Tennessee for a long time, but he even tweeted about how sick he was of the trade rumors a week ago.
Even then, re-signing him is going to be costly for the Titans, as the market for wide receivers has gone way up in the past few weeks. They have done a good job of signing players at affordable prices since Robinson and Mike Vrabel took over, but just how possible will it be in this situation?
Tennessee Titans can find ways to make it work for both sides
To start off, we should establish the minimum and maximum numbers for Brown in his next contract. Looking at Chris Godwin’s three-year, $60M deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with $40M guaranteed, that is the absolute bar for Brown.
Stefon Diggs’ four-year, $104M deal with $70M guaranteed with the Buffalo Bills is also a good indicator of how much money Brown will get on his next deal. Essentially, he will be signed somewhere in the $20M-$26M per year range with total guarantees being somewhere in the $40M-$70M range.
Take the rumors for what they are, but when it was revealed that the Jets were looking into trading for Brown, it was also said that he would want around $25M per year. At first glance, that is a pretty high number considering that he has never reached 1,100 yards in a season and is coming off of a bit of a down year, but it is not as bad as people think.
The main reason is that Brown has not received anywhere near the number of targets that number one receivers usually receive, mainly due to being in a run-first offense. If he had the opportunity to catch more passes, there is a chance that his stats would be absolutely mind-blowing.
Secondly, just because Brown may make a certain amount of money per year for however long does not mean that the Titans will be responsible for all of it. We have seen that in the NFL, guaranteed money is what really matters, and in the event that Brown is seriously underperforming in the final stages of his contract, the team will likely cut him and likely not be on the hook for much if not any money.
If he wants $25M per year from the Tennessee Titans, he will likely be willing to settle for not nearly as much guaranteed money if staying on the team is a priority for him. Looking at trends within the organization, there is a very good chance that happens.
All of the players who have signed big-time contracts with the Titans have done so with their guaranteed money being about half of their contract value. Those whose guaranteed money has eclipsed half of the contract value have barely even reached that point.
Brown’s next contract with the Tennessee Titans is likely to be 4 years, $100M ($25M APY) with $50M guaranteed. This would give both sides exactly what they want, as Brown would get to stay in Tennessee at his desired price, and the Titans would continue to not break the bank with the guaranteed money.
With a rookie wide receiver likely on the way and with Robert Woods having a contract that is incredibly easy to manipulate going forward, the Titans could pay A.J. Brown what he deserves while also having a competent trio of receivers that don’t (collectively) break the bank.
We know the extension is coming one way or another, but let’s put pen to paper soon so we can end any and all unnecessary rumors about Brown leaving town.