Disgruntled WR Antonio Brown finally has a home after his former team, the Pittsburgh Steelers, traded Brown to the Oakland Raiders for a third-round and fifth-round draft pick.
Brown is expected to sign a new three-year contract with the Raiders worth in excess of $50 million. With incentives, the contract could be worth an additional $4 million. Brown would be earning only approximately $39 million over the next three seasons if he remained in Pittsburgh.
The Steelers will incur a $21 million salary cap hit with the trade. After failed negotiations, the team is willing to accept a 10 percent hit in order to dump the cantankerous Brown.
Brown was named to the Pro Bowl seven times in his nine-year career. In 2018, Brown caught a career-high 15 touchdowns in 15 games. The Steelers were 9-6-1 last season and failed to make the playoffs.
WHO IS ANTONIO BROWN?
Hometown: Miami, FL
College: Central Michigan
Draft: 2010 Sixth Round by Pittsburgh Steelers
2018 Stats: 15 TD, 104 Receptions, 1,297 Yards
Career Stats: 74 TD, 837 Receptions, 11,207 Yards
The Steelers drafted Brown with the 195th overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft. Not too many sixth-round picks evolve into a superstar, but Brown is one of those diamond in the rough stories.
Since 2013, Brown put up outstanding statistics. He caught at least 101 receptions for 1,284 yards in each of the last six seasons. He caught 10-plus touchdowns in four out of the last six seasons.
Almost Bills Mafia
The Steelers were determined to move Brown before a self-imposed Friday deadline. The Steelers almost shipped out Brown to the Buffalo Bills. For a hot minute, actually 120 of them, the sporting world thought that the Bills and Steelers worked out a trade. At the last second, Brown nixed the deal because his agent was unable to hammer out a new contract.
The Bills would have been a huge step down for Brown. Their second-year QB, Josh Allen, is not in the same league as Ben Roethlisberger. The Bills have become one of the bottom feeders of the AFC East. If the New York Jets were not one of the worst franchises in all of sports, the Bills would be perennial the basement dwellers.
Then again, the Oakland Raiders are not exactly a model for excellence these days.
Silver and Black for Brown
Once the Bills deal fell apart, the Oakland Raiders entered the picture. Brown’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, worked out a deal with new general manager Mike Mayock. The Raiders were a good match because head coach Jon Gruden has always been a fan of Brown.
“He’s the hardest working man, I think, in football,” said Gruden. “Hardest working player I’ve ever seen practice. I’ve seen Jerry Rice, I’ve seen a lot of good ones, but I put Antonio Brown at the top. If there are any young wideouts out there, I’d go watch him practice. You figure out yourself why he’s such a good player.”
The Raiders were able to acquire Brown for next to nothing. Most importantly, they did not have to give up any of their horde of first-round picks.
“We are thankful that he is with Raiders nation, one of the marquee franchises in the NFL,” said Rosenhaus. “We are very excited that he has a terrific coach and a terrific quarterback.”
Brown will be 31 when the season begins, but he’s proven to be a durable player. Carr finally has a top receiver after the Raiders traded Amari Cooper mid-season to the Dallas Cowboys. Cooper thrived late in the year playing with Dak Prescott. The Cowboys felt they got a great deal even though they had to give up a first-round pick for Cooper.
Waiting for 2020
After an awful 4-12 season in 2018 and plenty of drama surrounding the team’s move to Las Vegas in 2020, the Raiders finally did something right.
Then again, the team still does not know where they will play next season. Oakland County did not renew the Raiders lease on their stadium. Last month, the Raiders were trying to convince the San Francisco Giants to allow them to play home games in downtown San Francisco. The team might be homeless, but they secured one of the best receivers in the game.
The Raiders have the third pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. Gruden mentioned he would like to select a young quarterback with one of their multiple first-round picks.
Heisman trophy winner Kyler Murray decided to skip a career in pro baseball with the Oakland A’s. Despite already having a young quarterback with Josh Rosen, the Arizona Cardinals expressed interest in Murray. The Cards have the top overall pick, but new head coach Kliff Kingsbury insisted that Rosen was their guy. The Raiders and New York Giants are also interested in drafting a quarterback in the upcoming draft.
The rumors circulating in New York City are the New York Jets are willing to trade down in the draft to relinquish the third-overall pick. The Giants would love to swap picks with the Jets to secure Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins.