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Mike Vrabel Catching Heat After Titans’ Shocking A.J. Brown Trade

The wide receiver-heavy first round of the NFL draft on Thursday wasn’t a huge surprise, but the trades involving marquee veteran receivers certainly were. The most shocking came midway through the round, when the Titans sent A.J. Brown, a 2020 Pro Bowler, to the Eagles.

Philadelphia sent the No. 18 and 101 picks to Tennessee for Brown, one of the league’s most physically dominant receivers. The Titans drafted another impressive wideout with that first-round pick, selecting Treylon Burks out of Arkansas. Even so, fans were not happy after the deal, especially considering what coach Mike Vrabel said earlier this month about the rumors around a potential Brown trade.

“Not as long as I’m the head coach,” Vrabel told Rich Eisen when asked about a potential move. “I love A.J. professionally, personally. I’ve known him well as his coach and enjoy seeing him as much as I possibly can. … “As long as I’m the coach here I would want to have A.J. Brown on my football team.”

People around football did not forget those words, which came just weeks ago on April 7.

Vrabel’s reaction to the deal, which was caught on camera, is also notable. After the draft, he said he was “comfortable” with how things played out given the team’s struggles to reach a long-term agreement with Brown. But when the move became public, Vrabel got out of his seat and paced to the back of the Titans war room. 

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He did not look terribly comfortable here.

With the deal, Brown reached a $100 million extension ($57 million guaranteed) with the Eagles, according to reports.

Burks is an impressive talent, but it will be hard to replace Brown, who began his career with back-to-back seasons of 1,000+ yards and at least eight touchdowns in 2019 and ’20, before posting 869 receiving yards and five TDs last season despite missing four games.

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