Exactly one week ago, Tennessee Titans’ wide receiver AJ Brown was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles. The news broke during the first-round of the 2022 NFL Draft, giving the Titans the No. 18 and No. 101 overall picks.
The trade itself increased the Eagles’ stock, as Philadelphia went from 50/1 to 40/1 odds to win Super Bowl LVII. But, without a quarterback to catch the ball from, there wouldn’t be a successful QB-WR duo. Over the last three seasons, Brown has played with Ryan Tannehill, who ranked 12th best quarterback in 2021, according to the NFL. For 2022, however, he gets the opportunity to play with Jalen Hurts — his good friend.
RECRUITING AJ BROWN
Hurts’ recruitment attempt began years ago when Brown was finishing high school. Despite trying to make Alabama Brown’s alma mater, Brown chose Old Miss.
Out of college, the Titans drafted Brown in 2019. Hurts was in attendance at his draft party, and vice versa when the Eagles chose Hurts in 2020. Brown surpassed the 1,000-yard receiving mark in each of his first two seasons. Last year, he completed 63 catches for 869 yards and five touchdowns in 13 games. Following the season, he requested a traded from the Titans after the two could not agree on a contract extension, and the rest is history.
Hurts and Brown took to Twitter with a cryptic message about playing together. Shortly after, Hurts was a guest at Brown’s daughter’s birthday party. They even had time to throw the ball around a bit.
Brown learned about the possible trade before the draft started last Thursday, stating that he thought Hurts was putting a “bug in their ear”.
He stated, “[Hurts] made it a lot easier to make that decision, just because I know he has my back and he knows I have this.”
After the trade was made, Hurts posted a video of the two FaceTiming each other on his Instagram story.
Brown stated, “I know everyone thinks on that FaceTime call, like, it was planned. But that was just two friends, kind of in disbelief that it really happened. We were so excited, with no worries. We were just laughing.”
STRENGTHENING THE OFFENSE WITH A FRIENDSHIP
After Brown signed his four-year, $100 million contract extension, he discussed how happy he was to work with Hurts.
“I’m extremely excited to play with him,” Brown said. “We always joked about it, but we never thought it would be reality.”
Despite a successful rush game last season by the Philadelphia Eagles, Hurts was called out on his inability to see down field and get the ball in the hands of the receivers. But with the backing from Roseman and Sirianni, Hurts is ready to lead the Eagles through the regular season and into the postseason.
In 2021, Hurts completed 61.3% of his passes for 3,144 yards and 16 touchdowns, as well as 784 rushing yards and ten touchdowns. He knows this season will have to be better.
Recently, Hurts has been spending his time in offseason training in Southern California. The training hasn’t only been physical, but also mental as he has learned how to take command of the offense.
Aside from wide receiver DeVonta Smith, who Hurts previously knew before the two were reunited as Eagles, his friendship with Brown will allow for comfortability and trust — which will translate to more confident gameplay.
“He’s [Brown] always been an excellent player since I’ve known him in college,” Hurts said. “Always had the ability to make plays with the ball in his hand, use his body, box out defenders, break tackles. He’s a great addition to a great receiver room we have now, and I’m excited.”