Why Mike Vrabel, Jon Robinson see A.J. Brown as core member of Tennessee Titans' future

Ben Arthur
Nashville Tennessean
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PALM BEACH, Fla. – Don’t expect price to be a deterrent in the Tennessee Titans’ hopes of extending A.J. Brown

At the NFL’s annual league meetings Monday, Robinson doubled down on his desire to keep the star receiver “a Titan a long time” when asked if the exploding market at his position makes retaining him a challenge. 

The wide receiver market has risen significantly since free agency began a couple weeks ago. The Jaguars gave former Cardinals receiver Christian Kirk, who’s never made a Pro Bowl, a contract averaging $18 million per season. The Chargers re-signed Mike Williams to a $20 million-per-year contract. Stars Davante Adams and Tyreek Hill also secured deals averaging $28.5 million and $30 million per year, respectively, after trades. 

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Robinson told the team website Sunday that it was a goal to extend Brown, though it’s unclear how much progress has actually been made. Robinson said at the NFL scouting combine earlier this month that extension talks were “very preliminary” and he told the team website not much has changed since then. 

“I think it’s something you have to work through, the cap situation,” Robinson said of a big-money extension for Brown. “Certainly, how it impacts you this year, but also how it impacts you next year and the year after that. 

“A.J. is a player that we’ve drafted,” Robinson continued. “He’s made a lot of great plays for us. He’s played a lot of great football for us. He’s a guy we want to keep a Titan a long time.”

Tennessee Titans wide receiver A.J. Brown (11) tries to get past Indianapolis Colts defenders during the game at Lucas Oil Stadium Sunday, Oct. 31, 2021 in Indianapolis, Ind.

Coach Mike Vrabel agrees. 

He lauded Brown’s growth off the field – on top of his football skills –  as a reason he wants to continue to coach him for many years to come. 

“His growth and develop since he’s gotten here as a person,” Vrabel explained. “Watching the father that he’s become. … Nothing makes me prouder than seeing that. Obviously, he’s a fantastic player but it’s the person I’ve grown to really care about and those are the types of guys you want to draft and ultimately have on the football team for as long as you’re around.”

The Titans’ leading receiver for three consecutive seasons, Brown is entering the last year of his rookie contract. The former second-round pick had 63 receptions for 869 yards and five touchdowns in 13 games in 2021. He posted 1,000 receiving yards in each of his first two NFL seasons, and was named a Pro Bowler in 2020.

Ben Arthur covers the Tennessee Titans for The USA TODAY Network. Contact him at barthur@gannett.com and follow him on Twitter at @benyarthur.

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