NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The second Tennessee traded wide receiver A.J. Brown to Philadelphia, there was no doubt what was about to happen.
Arkansas wide receiver Treylon Burks was about to hop on I-40 and cross the Mississippi border to play for one of the closest NFL teams to Arkansas while staying on SEC soil. Seconds later, Burks, dressed in a sharp all-white suit, was on the phone with Titans officials.
Arkansas wide receiver Treylon Burks reacts after being selected as the eighteenth overall pick to the Tennessee Titans during the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft at the NFL Draft Theater.
It's hard to imagine a better scenario for the Warren native. The drive for family from the small Southeast Arkansas town to Nashville is similar to the drive to Fayetteville.
Also, of all the NFL cities, Nashville is closest to the small town laid back vibe found in Warren and Northwest Arkansas.
Burks not only gets to come in and fill a role that fits his skill set by stepping in for Brown, but he gets to join a perennial playoff contender with a veteran quarterback. There will be no weather adjustments that would have awaited him had he been selected in Green Bay where he was initially projected.
Instead, he gets to play in front of fans who are familiar with him, including numerous Arkansas fans who will make the drive, and he gets to play in a stadium with the fish-filled Cumberland River literally in the stadium parking lot.
Nashville also has plenty of things to do to stay entertained throughout the year while not having the trappings of many NFL cities that get players into trouble. Plus, it's a great town to keep an Arkansas wife happy, which is something that will be on Burks' plate soon.
Perhaps the biggest thing for Burks is the increase in pay. A frantic run on wide receivers sent teams scrambling as so many teams faced either holes in their receiving corps, or, as Tennessee found itself, receivers about to come off rookie contracts into a market where the position is demanding the same money quarterbacks received just three years ago.
That pushed Burks a full 11 spots ahead of his projection as the first round grade receivers flew off the board ahead of him. Instead of getting slotted for $13.2 million with a $6.8 million signing bonus at No. 29, Burks bolted ahead to No. 18 where he is slotted for $15.6 million with an $8.5 million bonus.
For those who aren't that great with math, that's an additional $4.1 million in the bank provided we pretend taxes aren't a thing. Couple that with an area around Nashville where money buys a lot more house and land than say Dallas, L.A., New York or Miami, with plenty of places where a nice pond can be dug out back, and it becomes clear Burks has been handed the perfect scenario.
Now that fate has dealt him such a favorable circumstance, it will now be on Burks to prove he is worthy to stick in Tennessee and prove himself so indispensable that he doesn't become the next Brown getting shipped to the frozen northern concrete jungles four years from now.
But for now, expect to see a lot of blue jerseys mixed in alongside those Razorback reds.
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