The NFL world received stunning news on Tuesday morning when the Tennessee Titans fired general manager Jon Robinson.
While it's not unusual to see firings around the league at this time of year, few would have expected Tennessee to be the team making a change. The 7-5 Titans lead the AFC South and appeared well-positioned to make their fifth playoff appearance in Robinson's six-year tenure.
The strange timing has given birth to a theory that is making the rounds on NFL Twitter: Wide receiver A.J. Brown singlehandedly got Robinson fired.
The Titans raised eyebrows when they traded Brown, a Pro Bowler in 2020, to the Philadelphia Eagles on NFL Draft night.
Brown, who played the first three seasons of his career with the Titans, returned to Tennessee on Sunday and caught eight passes for 119 yards and two touchdowns as the Eagles rolled to a 35-10 win.
On the season, Brown has racked up 61 catches for 950 yards and nine touchdowns. The Titans, meanwhile, have seen their wide receiver room combine four just four touchdowns and two 100-yard performances all year.
A few prominent voices believe the Brown trade had been a source of tension between Robinson and head coach Mike Vrabel since it happened, and Brown's two-touchdown performance in his return to Nashville brought the issue to a head.
"Titans coach Mike Vrabel didn't want to trade A.J. Brown," Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk tweeted. "Jon Robinson did it anyway. On Sunday, Brown had 119 yards and 2 TDs as his new team blew out the Titans. And now Robinson is paying the price."
"I have to assume the A.J. Brown trade and his performance on Sunday was the last straw for ownership," Caroline Fenton of 102.5 The Game added. "Ownership chose Vrabel over Robinson. Wow. This is massive."
While it could well be that the Brown trade and his performance Sunday played a part in Robinson's firing, others around the NFL believe there is more to the story than that.
Former NFL defensive back Darius Butler, who played nine seasons in the league, believes there has to be another reason for Robinson's firing that hasn't yet been revealed.
"All jokes aside," Butler tweeted, "I know the A.J. Brown trade was a bad one but I think there's something more to this Jon Robinson firing. Winning teams heading towards the Playoffs don't just fire their GM."
Perhaps more reporting will emerge about the situation in the coming days and weeks.
In the meantime, vice president of player personnel Ryan Cowden will fill in for Robinson as the Titans try to put together another postseason run.