On Sunday, AJ Brown got his revenge. He put up a statline of 119 yards and two TDs in a win against the Tennessee Titans, the team that drafted him and the team that traded him this offseason instead of giving him a contract extension. It was an unfortunate look for GM Jon Robinson, the man who apparently believed Brown wasn't worth the money he ended up getting from the Philadelphia Eagles and could be replaced.
Brown could not be replaced. Not this year, anyway. He has more catches, yards, and touchdowns than any of the receivers on Tennessee's roster. In fact, he had more than their entire receiving room combined after the first two months of the year. Robinson was very, very wrong about Brown and the Titans are paying for it as they struggle to produce points.
Despite that, and despite getting blown out by Brown's Eagles on Sunday, the Titans are well on their way to winning a third consecutive AFC South title. Yet the news broke today that Tennessee had fired Robinson, effective immediately.
The instant reaction from the vox populi was that Brown got Robinson fired with his revenge game. But there is simply no way that's true.
Robinson's gaffe with Brown will go down as an all-time bad trade, to be sure, even if Treylon Burks (drafted with the pick the Titans received in exchange for Brown) ends up a decent receiver. Tennessee had a chance to make another playoff run this year and gave away their second-best player in a big-brained, salary-cap related move that only Bill Belichick would appreciate. And it is not the only mistake he's made during his tenure. Robinson has whiffed big on multiple first-round picks and the Julio Jones trade was a disaster.
Yet he compensated in other areas to make Ryan Tannehill a winning quarterback and did so well enough that ownership felt comfortable giving him a contract extension in February. That was not that long ago. Robinson's deal was set to run through 2027. Yet the Titans fired him, taking on the burden of paying out that contract for no return, and did so in December no less. GMs simply do not get fired in December. What's the point?
It just feels like there's something else going on here. To the contrary, Tom Pelissero reported ownership just didn't like the direction the team was going and wanted to make a change.
Yet, I ask you, what feels more likely? That something happened with Robinson that we don't know about yet or the Titans just massively overreacting to losing big to the best team in the NFL and getting embarrassed by a former team cornerstone?
This is the NFL and where there is smoke there is usually fire. It wouldn't be a surprise to see some context emerge in the next few days that may shock us all. I could be wrong. But canning the GM who turned the team around in shockingly short order by reviving an average QB's career because AJ Brown went off seems... unlikely.