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DeVonta Smith’s Extension Could Spell the End For This Teammate

The Philadelphia Eagles signed star wide receiver DeVonta Smith to a massive contract extension, but could this signal an A.J. Brown trade?
A.J. Brown Trade

Following his massive extension, the Eagles now have DeVonta Smith and A.J. Brown locked up for the immediate future – but could a trade separate this duo? These two have been terrorizing defenses for the past two seasons, with Brown serving as the top option and Smith being the second fiddle. This pairing worked, as Philadelphia had one of the game’s better passing attacks over the past two seasons.

However, Smith’s massive contract implies that Philadelphia believes Smith can be the top option in a passing game. Smith’s three-year, $75 million deal makes him the fourth-highest-paid receiver in the game, behind only Tyreek Hill, Davante Adams, and Cooper Kupp. With A.J. Brown and Jalen Hurts also receiving massive deals, it stands to reason that Philadelphia could trade Brown, as he’s the most expendable of the bunch.

Is A.J. Brown A Trade Candidate Following DeVonta Smith Extension?

First and foremost, it’s important to note that an A.J. Brown trade will not happen before the start of the 2024 season. While the wide receiver was frustrated with the team late in 2023, all reports indicate that the three-time Pro Bowler seems to be on good terms with the organization. Additionally, Brown currently carries a modest $12.3 million cap hit, and Philadelphia would lose a staggering $30.8 million in cap space if they deal him before June 1st.

Next year, however, is fair game. The wide receiver’s cap hit jumps to $26.5 million and the team could save over $11 million with an A.J. Brown trade. Historically speaking, teams do not pay market-setting deals to a quarterback and two wide receivers. The last team to do that was the Los Angeles Chargers, and look where they are now. Howie Roseman is always one step ahead, which means this might be Brown’s last year in Philadelphia.

If an A.J. Brown trade happens, there should be no shortage of suitors for his services. While it’s difficult to predict who will and won’t be in the market for wide receivers at this time next year, these five teams will probably be interested.

Possible Trade Destinations

Los Angeles Chargers

The Chargers need as much help as they can possibly get at the wide receiver position. Even if they draft a receiver early, and even if that player hits the ground running, they’ll still need another reliable weapon. With reports that Jim Harbaugh won’t draft a wideout in the first round, this team should consider an A.J. Brown trade when their offense inevitably cannot keep up with the Kansas City Chiefs.

Buffalo Bills

The Buffalo Bills lost Stefon Diggs and Gabriel Davis, and they won’t be able to replace both players in the 2024 NFL Draft. While Curtis Samuel and Khalil Shakir are fine depth options, this team needs a legitimate superstar like A.J. Brown. The last time the team traded for a proven veteran, it helped turn Buffalo into one of the best teams in the AFC. This time around, perhaps it can elevate the Bills to the Super Bowl.

Carolina Panthers

Bryce Young has a lot to prove in Year 2. After a disastrous rookie campaign littered with subpar supporting weapons, the Alabama product now has a decent supporting cast. If he makes the Year 2 leap and establishes himself as a franchise quarterback, then the Panthers should consider an A.J. Brown trade. If the past few years have proven anything, it’s that a star wide receiver can help take a solid quarterback and turn him into one of the best in the game. Brown helped do it with Jalen Hurts, and he could have the same result on Young.

New Orleans Saints

The Saints have a great wide receiver in Chris Olave and a reliable deep threat in Rashid Shaheed. However, they don’t have anything beyond those two. If Derek Carr is around in 2025, they’ll probably need to do better than this if they want to go on a deep postseason run. Carr is exactly as good as the sum of his supporting cast, and the Saints could have a great one if they pull off an A.J. Brown trade. With Carr’s and head coach Dennis Allen’s jobs likely on the line, don’t be surprised if New Orleans makes an aggressive move next year.

New England Patriots

The Patriots are in the first phase of a long rebuild. Step 1 is getting the quarterback, which they hope to do in the 2024 NFL Draft. Step 2 is getting him someone to throw to, and that somebody could be A.J. Brown. Brown wanted the Patriots to draft him back in 2019, and now New England will finally have the chance to right the wrong that was the N’Keal Harry selection.

Main Photo: Bill Streicher – USA Today Sports


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