A.J. Brown Trade Rumors: Patriots ‘Inquired’ About Deal, Star WR Shuts Down Speculation

Here's the latest on Philadelphia Eagles receiver A.J. Brown and whether teams like the New England Patriots are pursuing trades for him.

What’s going on with A.J. Brown?

The Philadephia Eagles receiver, who was a bit of an off-field headache late last season, popped up in trade rumors this week. Brown’s social media activity generated some, and some were created by one of the NFL‘s top insiders. Let’s break it all down, including where the New England Patriots fit into all of this.

A.J. Brown Responds to Speculation About His Social Media Activity

Brown, who grew up a Patriots fan, made headlines this week when he changed his profile pictures on Instagram and the X platform to photos of Tom Brady. An X user also noticed Brown recently followed Patriots quarterback Jacoby Brissett and receiver K.J. Osborn on Instagram.

This kind of stuff happens every offseason with NFL stars and usually means nothing. Fans just run with it. Nevertheless, Brown’s activity prompted a post from the ever-trolling Matthew Judon, and his profile photos remained unchanged as of Friday morning.

On Thursday, Brown took to X to clear the air. The 26-year-old explained he simply was inspired after watching Apple TV’s “The Dynasty” docuseries about Brady and the Patriots.

“TB12 is my favorite player ever,” Brown wrote. “I watch the dynasty and it brought back some memories from my childhood. Go look up what he did in 2015 when he was doubted/disrespected. Yeah I see the disrespect. Motivated … yes. That’s it.

“I did not think changing my pfp (profile picture) to the greatest ever would cause controversy. Take Care.”

Brown’s post since has been deleted. Make of that what you will.

NFL Insider Reveals Details About Trade ‘Inquiries’

Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer added fuel to the fire Thursday during an appearance on NBC Sports Boston. Breer revealed the Eagles have received calls on Brown this offseason — that shouldn’t come as a surprise — and that the Patriots are one of the teams who’ve inquired about the star wideout.

“I did have to run this up the flagpole with a few different people,” Breer said, referring to Brown’s social media tweaks. “Philadelphia has gotten inquiries on A.J. Brown. And they have shut them all down and told other teams that he is not available.”

When co-host Marc Bertrand said he hoped the Patriots were one of the teams that pursued a Brown trade, Breer replied, “They are.”

“They’ve inquired,” Breer added.

Whether the Patriots (or any team) can convince the Eagles to trade Brown remains to be seen. Crazier things have happened in the NFL, though.

One thing we know for sure: New England is still looking for help at receiver.

Patriots Confirm Interest in Trade for Receiver

While speaking with reporters Thursday, de facto Patriots general manager Eliot Wolf said he believes New England’s receiving corps is underrated. And it might be, as the Patriots have some intriguing players in the receiver room, although all carry question marks.

But Wolf also admitted the Patriots still lack a prototypical high-end boundary receiver.

“I think we have players that can line up and play X (outside),” Wolf said. “Do we have players that, on a three-by-one (formation), can beat the backside coverage every single time? I’m not sure if we have that just yet. But we certainly have good receivers that we’re excited about working with.”

Wolf then was asked whether the Patriots are still pursuing trades for a receiver or focusing on the draft.

“We’ve had conversations with teams about different scenarios,” Wolf said. “Not just the receiver, but at other positions. So, that’s definitely something that we’d be open to.”

MORE: Top 10 NFL Veterans With the Most To Lose in the 2024 NFL Draft

It feels inevitable that the Patriots will make a big play for a receiver this offseason. After missing out on Calvin Ridley in free agency, the trade market and the 2024 NFL Draft are their only options. NBC Sports Boston’s Phil Perry reported the Patriots “are interested” in receivers.

The good news is that some great receivers could be in trades. Brown, Brandon Aiyuk, Justin Jefferson, and Courtland Sutton are just some of the players who’ve generated trade speculation this offseason. And the 2024 receiver draft class is considered the best in years.

So, let’s wait and see what happens.

What’s Brown’s Contract Situation?

Brown is a phenomenal player. The three-time Pro Bowler eclipsed 1,400 receiving yards in each of the last two seasons and topped 100 yards in six straight games in 2023. Despite questions about his presence in the locker room, the Eagles surely want to keep him on the roster.

But his contract could be an issue.

Brown’s salary cap hit in 2024 will be a manageable $12.2 million. But it will balloon to a massive $26.5 million in 2025 and an untenable $41.5 million in 2026, the final year of his deal. The obvious solution: a contract extension/restructure.

However, Brown isn’t guaranteed any money after next season, and the Eagles would net significant cap savings by releasing him as a post-June 1 cut in 2025. So, for all intents and purposes, Brown is entering the final year of his contract with Philadelphia.

KEEP READING: Daniel Jeremiah Identifies Eagles as Potential Aggressive Team in NFL Draft Trades

Furthermore, the Eagles recently extended wideout DeVonta Smith, who received $51 million guaranteed. Philly can manage Smith and Brown’s salaries for the next season or two, but it’s fair to wonder whether the Eagles can fit both into their long-term plans.

Could all of this result in Brown, one of the NFL’s best receivers, hitting the trade block? You can’t rule it out.

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