Having drafted LenDale White and re-signed Travis Henry, Tennessee Titans general manager Floyd Reese may trade first-string running back Chris Brown – or allow him to seek a deal with teams in need of backs with starting experience – according to a source close to Brown.
Brown is in his last year of his contract, so any trade could require that the new team come to an agreement on a new, long-term deal. Reese has not given Brown permission to pursue trades, but Brown would be an excellent target for teams looking for an experienced back, such as the Denver Broncos and Houston Texans.
A league source said that the Broncos have been associated with another veteran running back – T.J. Duckett of the Atlanta Falcons – as part of a potential three-team trade. The deal would also send Broncos wide receiver Ashley Lelie to the New England Patriots, while Denver would receive Patriots tight end Daniel Graham and Duckett. The Falcons would receive undisclosed draft choices from both teams.
Both Denver and Houston will run offensive schemes that could entice a runner like Brown, who is a straight-head guy with the ability to make one cut and go.
In his three NFL seasons, Brown has averaged 4.3 yards per carry on 500 career attempts, including a career-high 1,067 yards and 4.9 average in 2004. He also had success against his only AFC West foe last season, gaining 97 yards and one touchdown on 19 carries against the Oakland Raiders, while also rushing for 267 yards in five career contests against the Texans.
After finishing 4-12 in 2005, the Titans could use significant assistance elsewhere on the roster. Given that offensive coordinator Norm Chow is very familiar with White from their days at USC – and given that Henry is capable of providing an adequate backup at the position if he can stay out of trouble – it might make sense for Tennessee to trade Brown to increase its depth and skill level at another position, and/or possibly supplement its 2007 draft picks.
Brown was drafted in the third round of the 2003 NFL draft. Last year, he finished with 851 rushing yards on a Titans team that struggled to run the ball and often found itself trailing early in games and abandoning the running attack.
The 6-foot-3, 220-pound Chicago native played his college ball at Colorado, where he led the nation in rushing during his senior year. He has missed some time in the NFL due to a variety of minor injuries, including turf toe, but he reported to the Tennessee's first minicamp at 100 percent. Brown is regarded in league circles as a high-upside back that could thrive in a system that uses his size and speed in a more run-oriented offense.