A.J. Brown

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/23/21

Here are Thursday’s minor moves:

Chicago Bears

  • Signed to active roster: LB Sam Kamara

Houston Texans 

New York Jets

  • Signed off 49ers’ practice squad: S Kai Nacua

Philadelphia Eagles

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

  • Designated for return: OL Jamarco Jones

Tennessee Titans

Washington Football Team

Titans To Activate A.J. Brown For Week 16

Ryan Tannehill will have both his top wide receivers available against the 49ers. A.J. Brown will be activated off IR to rejoin the team for Thursday night’s game, per NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport and Cameron Wolfe (on Twitter).

Out since Week 11 with a chest injury, Brown returned to practice earlier this week. He was on track to return barring a setback. Evidently setback-free during practice, the young pass-catching talent will play tonight.

[RELATED: Derrick Henry On Track For Playoff Return]

The Titans have seen their offensive production crater for much of the season’s second half. They lost Henry in Week 8 and have seen Julio Jones bounce in and out of action because of a nagging hamstring issue. Jones, however, does not have an injury designation going into tonight’s matchup.

After posting back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons to start his career, Brown has missed four games during his third campaign. Brown, who is less than a month from being eligible for an extension, enters Thursday’s game with 46 receptions for 615 yards and three touchdowns this season. His presence will certainly help a Titans outfit attempting to hold off the Colts, a team they swept with their playmakers available but one that has made up a bit of ground during the stretch without Henry and Brown.

Titans Designate A.J. Brown For Return

The Titans have designated wide receiver A.J. Brown and defensive back Chris Jackson to return from injured reserve. It’s welcome news for the Titans as they await word on Julio Jones‘ hamstring injury. 

Jones was limited to just 26 snaps and one target before leaving Sunday’s game against the Steelers. The Titans went on to lose 19-13, dropping them to 9-5 on the year.

Brown, 24, was well on his way to a third 1,000-yard season, up until his November chest injury. So far this year, he’s got 46 catches for 615 yards (still enough to lead the Titans) and three touchdowns. It’s not yet clear if he’ll dress for Thursday night’s game against the Niners, but it’s a promising sign for his availability heading into the playoffs.

Jackson has been out for roughly a month, but his foot seems to have healed up. To date, he’s got 31 tackles, two quarterback pressures, one tackle for loss and four passes defensed across nine games.

Titans Place WR A.J. Brown On IR

The Titans are down another skill player. The team announced that they’ve placed wideout A.J. Brown on injured reserve.

Having suffered a chest injury, Brown did not practice all week and had already been ruled out for tomorrow’s showdown against the Patriots. Fortunately, the Titans and Ryan Tannehill should have their top receiver back before the end of the season. Per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport (on Twitter), the injury isn’t a season-ender and Brown is expected to be back in December. The earliest that Brown could come back is Week 16 against the 49ers, although that TNF game comes on a short week.

The offense the Titans deploy in Week 12 will not look especially similar to the one it hopes to trot out come January. Tennessee already has Derrick Henry and Julio Jones on IR. The team also lost fill-in wideout Marcus Johnson for the season last week. Wideout Golden Tate could have been one candidate to fill one of those roster spots, but the veteran wasn’t elevated for tomorrow’s contest.

Temporarily, Tannehill will be throwing to the likes of Nick Westbrook-Ikhine and Chester Rogers. The team also has a fully stocked tight ends depth chart with Geoff Swaim, Anthony Firkser, and MyCole Pruitt.

The Titans have also elevated four players from the practice squad: wideout Cody Hollister, defensive back Breon Borders, quarterback Kevin Hogan, and defensive lineman Kevin Strong. Fullback Khari Blasingame has also been activated from injured reserve.

Titans’ A.J. Brown Out For Week 12

Already missing two All-Pros, the Titans will encounter a steeper uphill battle Sunday against the Patriots. Tennessee ruled out A.J. Brown on Friday.

Having suffered a chest injury, Brown did not practice all week. While the talented third-year wide receiver has made a habit of missing practice, the Titans will be cautious with him. Tennessee has a Week 13 bye, giving Brown two weeks of recovery time.

The offense the Titans deploy in Week 12 will not look especially similar to the one it hopes to trot out come January. Tennessee already has Derrick Henry and Julio Jones on IR. The team also lost fill-in wideout Marcus Johnson for the season last week. The team is hopeful Henry can return for the playoffs, and Jones — amid another hamstring issue — will presumably give it another go late in the regular season. Jones will not be eligible to return from IR until Week 16. For now, however, Ryan Tannehill will face a difficult assignment.

Brown is well on his way to a third 1,000-yard season, leading the Titans with 615 through the air. The big-bodied target has three touchdowns this year. Tennessee added Golden Tate to its practice squad this week, and it would surprise if the 11-year veteran is not part of the team’s makeshift solution Sunday. The Patriots lead the NFL in scoring defense.

A.J. Brown To Play In Week 5, Julio Jones Still Out

As they seek to rebound from an ugly loss to the Jets last week, the Titans will see the return of one of their top playmakers. As Turron Davenport of ESPN.com writes, wide receiver A.J. Brown — who missed the matchup with the Jets due to a hamstring injury — was a full participant in practice this week and will suit up for this afternoon’s divisional bout against the Jaguars.

“A.J. has worked hard and progressed to the point where based off of what he did today we can expect him to play on Sunday,” head coach Mike Vrabel said.

Brown sustained the hamstring injury in the first quarter of Tennessee’s Week 3 victory over the Colts, and he failed to record a catch during his brief time on the field. For the season, he has been targeted 19 times but has recorded just seven catches for 92 yards and a score.

The news is not as good for marquee trade acquisition Julio Jones, Brown’s running mate at wide receiver. Like Brown, Jones suffered a hamstring injury in the Titans’ Week 3 contest, but he has now missed two consecutive weeks of practice and will be unable to play against Jacksonville today. He remains Tennessee’s leading receiver, having posted 12 catches for 204 yards this year, though he has yet to find the endzone for his new club.

Despite the loss to the previously winless Jets, the Titans remain atop the weak AFC South with a 2-2 record.

Titans’ Julio Jones, A.J. Brown To Miss Time

FRIDAY: The Titans will not have their top receivers available against the Jets. They ruled out Brown and Jones for Week 4. Neither player practiced this week.

WEDNESDAY: Julio Jones and A.J. Brown might not face the Jets on Sunday. Jones is receiving treatment for a leg injury while Brown may miss a week or two with a hamstring injury (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport).

Jones, one of the greatest receivers of his generation, set Falcons franchise records in receptions (848) and receiving yards (12,896). On top of that, his 60 receiving touchdowns trailed only Roddy White‘s 63. He’s already given the Titans one vintage performance, a six-catch, 128-yard outing against the Seahawks in Week 2. Through three games, Jones has notched 12 catches for 204 yards.

Brown turned in one of the better rookie WR years in recent memory and followed it up with a strong 2020 encore. Last year, Brown finished out with 70 grabs for 1,075 yards and eleven touchdowns en route to his first Pro Bowl. So far, he’s got seven grabs for 92 yards and one score, though his Week 3 game was effectively wiped out by the hamstring issue.

Titans Place Bud Dupree On PUP List, Caleb Farley On NFI List

The Titans’ top two offseason acquisitions on defense came with injury tags, and each will begin the team’s training camp out of practice. Tennessee placed Bud Dupree on its active/PUP list and parked first-round pick Caleb Farley on its non-football injury list Saturday.

Both can be removed from these respective lists at any point during camp, and each designation was expected. Dupree is coming off a December ACL tear, while Farley missed Tennessee’s minicamp while recovering from offseason back surgery. Were Dupree to land on the Titans’ reserve/PUP list to start the regular season, he would miss the team’s first six games.

Dupree did not offer any clarity on his rehab timetable recently, and given the recovery time for ACL tears, it would not surprise if the ex-Steeler sack artist was held out of camp. Despite the injury and the pandemic-induced salary cap reduction, the Titans gave Dupree a five-year, $82.5MM deal that included $33.8MM fully guaranteed.

Farley has now undergone two back surgeries, with the second coming in March. The first-round cornerback initially encountered lower-back trouble while training ahead of Virginia Tech’s 2019 season, and after he excelled that fall to vault onto the first-round radar, the malady ended his second and final Hokies season early. Farley opted out of the 2020 season, but the Titans — as they did with Jeffery Simmons in 2019 — bet on talent and selected the standout defender 22nd overall. Farley received an NFI designation because his injury occurred before he entered the NFL.

In better Titans news, both A.J. Brown and Taylor Lewan avoided any injury-related designations heading into camp. Brown underwent surgery on both knees this offseason; Lewan is coming back from an ACL tear.

AFC Rumors: Ravens, Crowder, Chiefs, Pats

Orlando Brown has issued an unusual ultimatum to the Ravens: move him full-time to left tackle or trade him. But with the team just extending one of the best left tackles in football, Ronnie Stanley, accommodating Brown on a position move is a non-starter. Baltimore, however, is listening on offers for its three-year right tackle, Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic notes (subscription required). The Ravens will certainly want a big haul for their contract-year edge protector. However, the new CBA further protecting teams against holdouts will limit Brown’s options, and the Ravens already have questions up front. Their strength at tackle somewhat offsets issues inside, but dealing Brown would further weaken a line that lost some punch after Marshal Yanda‘s retirement.

Here is the latest from the AFC:

  • Jamison Crowder‘s six touchdowns led the Jets last season, and he added a passing TD in one of the team’s two wins. The veteran slot receiver is by far Sam Darnold‘s most proven weapon, but Rich Cimini of ESPN.com notes Crowder is vulnerable to cap-casualty status because of his team-high $11.4MM cap number. With Crowder’s $10MM salary not guaranteed in the final year of his deal, cutting him would free up eight figures in cap space for the Jets. While this would create another skill-position need for a team with numerous deficiencies, there will be several starter-caliber receivers available. It is not like the Jets need cap space, with only the Jaguars holding more, but Crowder predates GM Joe Douglas‘ arrival. He could soon join a loaded free agent receiver class.
  • The University of Tennessee offered Chiefs linebackers coach Matt House its defensive coordinator job, but House turned down the Volunteers, according to Dan Graziano of ESPN.com (on Twitter). House has been with the Chiefs for two years, coming to Kansas City after a three-year stay as the University of Kentucky. He was the Wildcats’ DC for two of those slates.
  • Titans wide receiver A.J. Brown is recovering from surgery on both knees, Terry McCormick of TitanInsider.com tweets. While this certainly sounds serious, NFL.com’s Mike Garafolo tweets these operations were minor. Brown missed early-season time with knee trouble but returned before the midway point and made his first Pro Bowl.
  • Former Dolphins quarterbacks coach Bo Hardegree will join the Patriots‘ staff, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. This comes after 2020 Pats QBs coach Jedd Fisch agreed to become head coach at the University of Arizona. Hardegree spent the past five years in the AFC East, working under Adam Gase at each stop. Hardegree, 36, also worked with the Broncos and Bears under Gase, beginning his NFL run in 2014.

Titans Place Corey Davis On Reserve/COVID-19 List

Earlier Wednesday, reports indicated the Titans had two new COVID-19 positives. One of those appears to have been fourth-year wide receiver Corey Davis.

The Titans placed Davis on their reserve/COVID-19 list Wednesday afternoon. Tennessee now has 12 players on that list. The team still cannot re-enter its facility for practice, putting its Sunday game against Buffalo in doubt.

The league, according to NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero (on Twitter), has launched an investigation into the Titans. They have seen a coronavirus outbreak spread among their roster and are believed to have conducted an illegal offsite workout. Some around the league believe the league is set to levy a “historic” punishment against the team to set an example, per Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. In addition to levying six-figure fines against teams for their coaches not complying with mask protocols, the NFL has threatened to strip teams of draft picks. That would seem to be the baseline for a “historic” punishment.

As of Wednesday afternoon, Davis joins fellow wideout Adam Humphries, defensive line starters Jeffery Simmons and DaQuan Jones, second-round cornerback Kristian Fulton, linebacker Kamalei Correa, long snapper Beau Brinkley, first-round tackle Isaiah Wilson, running back Khari Blasingame and practice squad players Cameron Batson, Greg Mabin and Tommy Hudson.

If the Titans-Bills game does happen this week — which is still the league’s plan — Tennessee could be severely shorthanded at wide receiver. No. 1 target A.J. Brown has not played since Week 1, but the team’s virtual injury report listed the second-year player as going through a pseudo-limited practice. This marks a pivotal year for Davis, after the Titans did not pick up his fifth-year option in May. Through three games, the former top-five pick has 15 receptions for 206 yards and a touchdown.