After a placid start to the 2022 NFL draft on Thursday night, cell phones around the league suddenly sprung to life. Just as we saw a series of trades involving picks, two of the eight wide receivers from the vaunted Class of 2019 were dealt away in a matter of minutes.
First, Baltimore's Marquise Brown was sent to the Cardinals in a deal involving Arizona's first-round pick. Shortly after, the Eagles sent the 18th pick to the Titans as part of a deal for A.J. Brown. Tennessee used that pick to draft a replacement for Brown in Treylon Burks, while the Ravens traded down and eventually nabbed center Tyler Linderbaum.
While most of us thought there could be a trade involving a prominent fourth-year wide receiver during Thursday's draft, the guy who was supposed to be on the move was 49ers wideout Deebo Samuel. Instead, two of Samuel's classmates were unexpectedly shipped off. What happened? Let's get a sense of why each of the four teams involved in Thursday night's big deals made its move:
Why did the Titans trade A.J. Brown?
We'll start with the most stunning decision of the bunch. There had been some friction between the Titans and their star wideout, with Brown himself implying in a livestream that he had been offered only $20 million per year on an extension. Unlike the Samuel situation, though, Brown hadn't requested a trade. Earlier in April, Mike Vrabel had said that Brown would not be on the trade block "as long as I'm the head coach."