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UPDATE: Antonio Brown Agrees to Terms with Patriots

Since yesterday there have been another half-dozen or so developments in the Antonio Brown saga, culminating in an Instagram post this morning asking for his release from the Raiders.

As of now, as noted on Over The Cap and PFT, the Raiders have not paid Brown a dime, and the fines and letters written give them the right to void his guarantees, which they have apparently done. After apologizing and declaring his desire to be a Raider just yesterday, Brown has now vowed not to play for them.

With two days still remaining before their opener, more is bound to happen. At this point, nothing at all would shock me, up to and including him showing up unannounced for the game on Monday, suiting up in an attempt to guarantee his 2019 salary, and then running into the wrong end zone on purpose.

Perhaps this is the world's most clever/annoying marketing ploy. Or perhaps he's just flat out insane.

In any event, should the Raiders cut him, they may not bother going to the trouble of trying to keep him off of other teams. At this point, it's possible that nobody would even want him.

If he does become a free agent, would you want him on your team?

UPDATE: At noon Eastern time, the Raiders announced they have officially released Antonio Brown.


Terms are reportedly one year, up to $15 million, $9-million signing bonus. He will not be eligible to play until Week 2.

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105 comments, Last at 14 Sep 2019, 7:37am

1 I can't believe how many…

I can't believe how many twists there have been in this affair in the just the past few days. If this were a TV show you'd say they were cramming way too much into too little time.

It's strange for all this erratic behavior to be showing up so late in Antonio Brown's career. He's been in the league for a decade, but I don't recall ever hearing any stories like this until a few years ago. You have to wonder what changed, since usually people become less like this as they approach 30, not more.

31 I hadn't considered that

There is a lot of merit to what you're suggesting. I really hope it's not the case, but it's going to be hard not seeing this through the lens of brain injury.

I'd like to think that his family, friends, and agent would have considered the possibility.

34 If my experience as a…

If my experience as a private practice attorney taught me anything, it's that with enough money involved, people often don't act in the best interests of their clients or relatives.

101 The way Antonio Brown has been covered by the media

Frankly, it disgusts me how many people who earn their livings covering the guys who are inflicting CTE upon themselves (not to mention the myriad other injuries that will follow them the rest of their lives) are unwilling to even consider the possibility that the brain injuries Brown has suffered during his career might have something to do with his suddenly erratic behavior.

Even now that he has been picked up by the Patriots, people are rushing to say "see, he knew what he was doing" while conveniently ignoring that Brown cost himself $21M in guaranteed money, and is now one serious injury away from having signed his last significant NFL contract. You can argue that he behaved badly, whatever the reasons for his behavior, but you cannot credibly argue that he behaved rationally.

103 Sure you can.  If he puts up…

Sure you can.  If he puts up huge numbers and helps the Patriots win another Super Bowl, he will more than make up for the $21 million in his next contract.  On the other hand, if he had stayed with the Raiders and put up garbage numbers (a la Moss's last year there), given his age, he would have likely never signed another big money contract.

He's sacrificing good money in the short term to pursue great money in the long term.  How is thinking ahead "irrational"?

3 Like others, I am at a loss…

Like others, I am at a loss to explain the evolution of Antonio Brown. Unlike To, Randy, and OchoCinco who were all known divas, Antonio's diva behavior seemed to happen overnight.

And yet, I actually blame the Raiders for this latest move. When you try to void out his guarantees, what do you think Antonio is going to feel? Why accept his (seemingly) heartfelt apology and then do this. Isn't that basically going to poison the relationship permanently? Why not just release him. In fact, you had to know his volatile nature when you traded for him, so why does any of this come as a total surprise?  


I don't know what happens to Brown at this point, but his talent is clearly undeniable. And given how much hes damaged his reputation, you can probably get him on a cheap contract with a dozen out clauses. Basically, give him the dwight howard ultimatum - behave or you are gone. Could you imagine him with Mahomes or Aaron Rodgers??

4 I think voiding his…

I think voiding his guarantees was the right move. It took away AB's security. If he wants to get paid, then he has to show up and play. Now, if he doesn't show up, he doesn't cost the Raiders anything and he can't go play for another team.

39 Giving a problem employee…

Giving a problem employee tons of money isn't a great way to run a business, either. 

This is honestly a great move by the Raiders. Losing a 3rd and a 5th for a chance at AB's a good risk, and once it became obvious that he was an escalating problem they gave themselves a free out if AB wasn't willing to start behaving like an adult.

Cutting the guarantees and seeing if he was still willing to play at all was smart: AB could've still earned the bonuses and the Raiders could've easily reinstated them if he improved. The fact that he said "nope" just told them he was never going to be a team player.

40 Giving a problem employee…

Giving a problem employee tons of money isn't a great way to run a business, either. 

This is honestly a great move by the Raiders. Losing a 3rd and a 5th for a chance at AB's a good risk, and once it became obvious that he was an escalating problem they gave themselves a free out if AB wasn't willing to start behaving like an adult.

Cutting the guarantees and seeing if he was still willing to play at all was smart: AB could've still earned the bonuses and the Raiders could've easily reinstated them if he improved. The fact that he said "nope" just told them he was never going to be a team player.

17 It’s an outdated behaviorist…

It’s an outdated behaviorist psychology way to deal with problems. Treating other human beings like Pavlovian dogs, i.e trying to train them with punishment and treats instead of human interaction. Gruden seemed to know how to deal with him, Mayock seems stuck in an old-school managerial mindset that doesn’t play well in the modern football world, especially with over sensitive divas like Brown.

I mean obviously Brown is a headcase and it’s tough problem to deal with, but that’s why you should have a plan in place when you trade for him, like the Cowboys did with Dez Bryant, instead just trying to force a square into a round hole. There’s blame to go around on both sides, in my opinion 

19 Sorry.  That's revisionist…

Sorry.  That's revisionist BS that assumes that there was an element of trust between the 2 parties.  It isn't clear that AB actually wanted to play in Oakland.  It seems like the team didn't know about the feet issue until after he showed up to training camp in a hot air balloon.  And the helmet issue shouldn't have occurred since the new rule was part of a collective bargaining agreement that was signed a few years ago, meaning that AB had ample time to prepare for such a scenario instead of turning training camp into a circus and using it as the reason for not practicing.  Finally, calling your GM a cracker on the practice field in front of the media, posting personal letters from the team on Instagram, and putting up personal phone calls from your head coach on YouTube make it seem that you don't care about your employer very much.

Now that Jones' extension numbers ($66MM guaranteed) have come out, I imagine that AB will be even more of a hassle to deal with on his new team.  He definitely won't get $30MM guaranteed in his next deal and I wouldn't want to deal with him after the week he outperforms Jones on the field.

20 My point is, once he curses…

My point is, once he curses the GM, release him or come to some kind of resolution. The forced apology should have come with some understanding of an appropriate middle ground. Levying another 200k fine and trying to void all of his guaranteed money just feels petty and vindictive. Once you do that, what do you expect Antonio to do? What would any other player do?


Bottom line, release him and get it over with.

21 My point is, once he curses…

My point is, once he curses the GM, release him or come to some kind of resolution. The forced apology should have come with some understanding of an appropriate middle ground. Levying another 200k fine and trying to void all of his guaranteed money just feels petty and vindictive. Once you do that, what do you expect Antonio to do? What would any other player do?


Bottom line, release him and get it over with.

26 Fair enough.  It should be…

Fair enough.  It should be mentioned that the team took these steps in order to release him without owing the guaranteed money.  Pretty sure that they just would've cut him outright without the fine shenanigans if he had zero guaranteed money left.  Hopefully Rosenhaus talked to AB about what he could and couldn't get away with while he was busy giving ESPN interviews about his client.

42 Huh? Why is it vindictive?…

Huh? Why is it vindictive? He definitely violated the terms of the contract. That's why they wanted to release him. Why should it cost them $30M for a player who violated his contract and was such a problem they didn't want him? The fine is just the way to contractually tell him "you violated the contract "

44 My point is, why make him go…

My point is, why make him go through an apology/ have Jon Gruden proclaim to the media that he will be the week 1 starter and  he's now a committed Raider, only then levy these fines. Did they really believe a guy so unhinged and prickly was going to accept that? It strikes me as completely pointless and I doubt Mayock really believed Antonio would just fold and start pulling the company line.  


If the point is to send him a message that he violated his contract and was misbehaving...well release him and that sends a pretty good message too. 

51 Releasing him means they're…

Releasing him means they're in the hook for $30M even though they were releasing him for violating his contract. The fine was the way they had to do it.

As for why make him go through the apology, I'm sure the Raiders knew AB wouldn't accept it, but they had to do it to make it clear that he wouldn't. It's a legal process. If they had just fined him and killed the guarantees right away, he could've argued they were overreacting and he wasn't given any chance to resolve the situation.

I'm sure the reason the Raiders released him is that he agreed not to fight the guaranteed money voiding. Otherwise they would've put him on the reserve/left squad list when he didn't report (assuming he wouldn't play on the nonguaranteed contract) and he would've been shut down for the season.

23 He has to sit

Brown has to sit a few weeks without a contract before he becomes any use to anybody. I still can't wrap my head around how dumb you have to be to self-inflict frost bite on your feet and not expect your team to give you a hard time about it. Best case scenario he really wanted out of Oak and this was his way of making that happen - if that's the case you could see something really dramatic with a contender; but I think it's more likely a TO situation.

Credit to Tomlin for getting productivity out of him well he was there - although that's often easier before a big contract than after.

29 I think the only quibble is…

In reply to by sbond101

I think the only quibble is the fine in the first place and how it was impersonally addressed. When he started to lose his mind over the issue, then yeah, go ahead and cut him and recoup the money. He has no one to blame but himself there. All I'm saying is there were better options to deal with his conduct "detrimental to the team" than by paternalistic scoldings like "it's time for Antonio to be all-in or all-out" and by levying financial penalties. Do you really think "Mr Big Chest" and his ego is going to respond well to those kind of engagements? Seriously?

Keep in mind AB thinks he's a victim in all of this (the frostbite, the media attention, the helmet) and all he wants is to be heard out. Based on Hard Knocks, it seemed Gruden understood this and pandered to it for the good of winning some games. Clearly, AB is a child in man's body and has some serious mental issues that need to be sorted out. But if you want to hire said personality, you better know how to deal with him instead of trying to be an "impartial" judge like Mayock felt the need to be.

I don't know what you mean about Brown not wanting to be on the team; he very much chose to be with the Raiders and specifically Carr over other suitors (for example, he refused to sign with the Bills despite a better offer being in place). Again, he thinks he's the victim in all of this. In his mind he really wants to be a Raider and play football for them, he just needs to be "himself"--which is to say, a giant baby who needs to be cradled. Sure, he didn't participate in meetings enough and missed time in practice. You think that kind of behavior was going to change after leaving Pittsburgh? It was already documented what a piece of crap he was there.

The point is before you bring someone into your culture, understand how he fits and how he's likely to react to what you're trying to build instead of just getting him because "lol value" and then treating him in the exactly opposite way he wants to be treated. Mayock demonstrated zero awareness of this and thus has to shoulder some of the blame, regardless of how objectively insane AB is.

45 Exactly. Brown's behavior…

Exactly. Brown's behavior was not a secret and everyone who was in the market for him should have known what they were getting into. Nothing in his behavior suggested any kind of circumspection in his flameouts with Pittsburgh. It was, "I am misunderstood, its all their fault." Does that sound like someone you can brow beat into submission with fines and press conferences? 


There should have been a better plan in place. There was not and thus they shoulder some blame. 

53 I don't know what you expect…

I don't know what you expect a football team to do when one of its players effectively refuses to practice, especially when the player is new to the team and needs time to learn the plays and develop chemistry with the rest of the offense.

IMO I think he checked out once he realized that Oakland is in rebuilding mode and its talent level is significantly worse than Pittsburgh's. Moving to a situation with a worse QB and offensive talent was bound to depress his stats, which I am pretty sure that he cares pretty deeply about.  I would've loved to be a fly on the wall the first couple of times he got open down the field and Carr elected to dump the ball off to a back instead of throwing it to him. Hence the move to the Pats is not surprising.  Players - even crazy ones - like putting up stats and winning.

9 Would BB take a flyer on…

Would BB take a flyer on someone like Brown? He did with Moss but never even looked TOs way. Moss was a different kind of headache that was jettisoned the moment his behavior started up.

24 As far as I can remember,…

As far as I can remember, the worst thing Moss ever did was not try that hard. He wasn't crazy, and he wasn't a threat to institutional functionality - he was just a fairly normal, decent guy who happened to be incredibly talented at something he didn't enjoy very much. And Ochocinco was a publicity-hungry mentalist, but I'm not sure he was a particularly bad employee or teammate. Brown appears to be cut from the TO cloth, with possibly an extra helping of Axl Rose.

32 Moss was no saint. He was…

Moss was no saint. He was fined once for squirting a ref with a water bottle. There was the infamous 'mooning' incident. He insulted a caterer at a Vikings team meal in 2010. And he reportedly called the Vikings owner to insist that Brad Childress be fired. But you are correct that he never hit these levels.

36 The worst thing Moss ever…

The worst thing Moss ever did was deliberately nudge a traffic cop with his car. Frankly, he should have done 90 days in jail for that dangerous nonsense.

Having said that, the "mooning" thing was fabulous, in the context of Lambeau drunks dropping trou when the visiting team bus arrives before every home game. Sports needs more of that completely harmless taunting of the home crowd by the visiting team; if you weren't utterly amused by the constantly booed Russian tennis player trolling the U.S. Open crowd this week, in his post victory interview this week, you need a humor transplant. How much would you pay to see an oppposing coach who wins at Foxboro, go full "Bahhstan" and "Tawwmmy" with a Faux Foxboro Fathead accent, in a post game press conference? I say we need more of this, and tell Joe Buck to fold up his big girl's blouse!


95 I didnt see the russian…

I didnt see the russian tennIs player thing, but I agree completely.

We all do dumb things from time to time and it doesnt need to be blown up by the pc police.

Moss fake mooning the crowd was beautiful.

10 I wonder how much the self…

I wonder how much the self-inflicted frostbite is effecting his ability to play.

There must be a nontrivial number of fantasy football fans out there who drafted Andrew Luck and Antonio Brown with high picks who have already given up on their teams, right?

11 I think (and hope) the pats…

I think (and hope) the pats are good with just one headcase WR in Gordon. Also it seems like AB hates stuffy, team-oriented structured environments more than anything so I don’t think that’s a landing spot. I could see him on the Jets and reunited with Bell, or maybe the Seahawks. They’ve been risk-takers in the past (Harvin) and with a huge void at WR make a lot of sense.

12 He had almost 1300 yards and…

He had almost 1300 yards and 15 TDs in 15 games last year. The TD total was enough to lead the league and the yardage total was 10th. I'm sure there will be plenty of teams interested in him. He's way too good stay unsigned. I think it will be interesting to see how much he gets paid.

46 He hasn't destroyed any…

He hasn't destroyed any teams from the inside so far. The Steelers were consistently good through his entire tenure. I think the negative effects of locker room distractions and the like are overrated. If he causes trouble you suspend him or cut him.

16 Rodgers to Brown - on what…

Rodgers to Brown - on what would be a non guaranteed contract since the Pack already played week 1 - sure would be interesting.

Give him the league minimum and a big bonus if they reach and win the Super Bowl. Cut him the second he even blinks wrong.

74 True, but unless the run…

True, but unless the run game suffers a ton from losing Gronk's blocking, that offense would still be scary even if Brady died tomorrow and Stidham had to play. They'd probably still get a bye.

(I'm not even kidding. Strong run game, brilliant coaches, a guy who's always open at or near the line of scrimmage, and two guys who are open even when they're not... that's tailor made to ease a new guy in as long as he's accurate and not reckless. They just lack the same great defense they had back when Brady Pipped Bledsoe.)

89 Well, I'd wager the contract…

Well, I'd wager the contract has a similar clause to that of the Raiders. If Brown goes full Nutter again, giving the team cause for suspension/fine, I'd bet the signing bonus can be clawed back. It's not in either the interest of Rosenhaus or Brown, and maybe not even the team, for such contract provisions to become public knowledge.

Having the hammer of a possible clawback may be even a better tool than possibly cutting a guy, with the guy thus losing his subsequent game checks.

18 Can’t see the Packers going…

Can’t see the Packers going that route, but it sure would be interesting.

This is actually probably a best-case scenario for the Raiders (besides the lost 3rd and 5th round picks) because now they can suck properly, get a franchise QB early in the draft and move on from Carr’s mediocrity, and have some hope for when they move to Vegas instead of being stuck in non competitive no-mans land

33 "After a time, you may find…

"After a time, you may find that having is not so pleasing a thing after all than wanting. It is not logical, but it is often true.", as Spock once said.

43 Poor Drew Rosenhaus is gonna…

Poor Drew Rosenhaus is gonna have to make do with the $200 bottle of cabernet at the overpriced steakhouse this month.

On the other hand, Mark Davis can get an extra appetizer at P.F. Chang's!

48 Jesus Christ, he’s a patriot…

Jesus Christ, he’s a patriot and I guarantee they’ll cater to his childishness and get the most out of him without any issues. I hate how dumb the rest of the NFL is compared to the Pats. Why couldn’t I have been born near Boston instead of near Buffalo???

52 I think the better bet is…

I think the better bet is that Brown realizes this is his last chance, he'll keep his head down for this year, as long as things are going well, and be productive. At some point, things won't go well, because this is athletic competition at the highest level, which means even the best organizations have times when things aren't going well. At some point in the next two years or so, Brown will be Brown, and Belichik will cut him, like a Black Widow spider tossing aside the husk of of recent mating partner, after extracting all the useful liquid from it.

54 I don't care how Antonio…

I don't care how Antonio wants to spin this, he is the real loser in this story. Instead of getting a Julio Jones like contract, he's settling for a one year prove it deal. Players of his caliber should never have their situations reduced to this level.

Great for the Patriots as this move carries almost no downside risk. They didn't even have to trade anything for him and Antonio has no choice now but to shut up and be the good soldier.

56 This is one of those…

This is one of those situations where the Patriots will be hailed as geniuses, while if another team had done the exact same thing the reaction would be much more mixed. I like the move, but literally an hour ago it was a matter of debate as to whether signing Brown would be worth the potential downside.

77 Like any industry, the best…

Like any industry, the best tend to get offered the most attractive investment opportunities.  Warren Buffett gets better deals than your neighborhood auto mechanic.  AB likely had a very short list of teams that he was willing to join and getting a top 5 WR on a 1 year prove it deal is a very good piece of business for the team. 


102 But which team he signs for…

But which team he signs for materially affects the likelihood of that downside. He is much, much less likely to cause trouble in New England than he would be pretty much anywhere else. Where would be closest? Seattle?

84 Brown is a vastly better…

Brown is a vastly better player than Ochocinco ever was. And unlike Moss, his on-field production has never noticeably suffered, in spite of the dubious personality.

Now, he has only ever played with one team and one (HOF) QB in his career, so I’m not certain he has the same otherworldly talent of Randy Moss, which could drastically elevate any offense in which he played. There’s also the question of the apparent recent deterioration in his behaviour. But if he is focussed and bought in, then lookout. 

60 The Patriots have a strong…

The Patriots have a strong enough organization/culture so that they're not worried about losing the locker room. Whatever AB does, the rest of the team is going to stick together & play hard. So they're willing to take a chance on him, because they might get a great receiver and the downside for them is not that bad.

61 Git Yer Popcorn Ready

Fascinating to see how defenses scheme against Gordon, Brown and Edelman running routes with James White leaking out of the backfield, and McDaniel scheming guys open. The Pats ground game is pretty good too! The media circus is going to be irritating but the actual play might be worth it. The Pats have two receivers drafted in the first round who might not even be able to get into games.
Of course, there are odds that something goes wrong somewhere before then. We've entered an NFL Twilight Zone of quantam physics and non-Euclidean geometry. I'm expecting Cthulu to put in an appearance on opening night.

63 1st Round WR's

I believe DT, N'keal, and Dorsett are all 1st rounders that are behind later drafted players.

But DT looked okay against the Giants scrubs (hard to tell), N'keal is an unknown but adjusts to the ball well - could be a bigger Malcolm Mitchell, and Dorsett and Brady seem to have some chemistry - he's just not very big.

The rest of your comment is the interesting part, the fact that the Patriots could go full Air Raid the way people were expecting the Cardinals to go.

62 Hope there was no tampering

Given how much the NFL hates the Patriots, the Pats and we Pats fans had better hope that no member of the organization so much as whispered a hint to Brown or Rosenhaus that NE might be a good place to play before the Raiders released him. Though tampering usually carries a small fine and maybe a late round pick, this is high profile enough that the NFL would probably dock the Pats 2 firsts, suspend Belichick for a year, and fine them $5M.

66 Good strategy

So if you don't like the team you play for, you can just behave like a lunatic until they dump you, at which point you can play for whoever you like? I would expect this to become a much more popular strategy going forward, as there doesn't appear to be much of a downside. I mean if an organization as well-run as New England has no problem looking past your antics, who else would?

67 Given this cost the player…

In reply to by lenny65

Given this cost the player 15 million plus in guaranteed money, I don't think this is going to be attractive to the non-psycho players.

70 More than that.  Brown was…

More than that.  Brown was in line to get ~30M from the Raiders guaranteed, right?  Reports out of NE is that only $9M is a signing bonus, so that's a $21M guarantee loss.  And it might be more... they Pats may well have set up the contract so that if he acts up they can recoup some of the signing bonus, so it might not all be guaranteed either...

I'm curious how the Pats worked the cap to sign him.  I thought they only had about $5M of space... but if you're giving someone a 1-year $15M contract, there's limited ways to fit that into a small cap space.

72 Why assume it’s a 1-year…

Why assume it’s a 1-year deal? I expect it’s something like what they did with Revis (and earlier this season with Brady) - adding some years that will never be played out under the contract to get the cap charge down.

Also, maybe they do some restructures with some other players to get more space.

71 More than that.  Brown was…

More than that.  Brown was in line to get ~30M from the Raiders guaranteed, right?  Reports out of NE is that only $9M is a signing bonus, so that's a $21M guarantee loss.  And it might be more... they Pats may well have set up the contract so that if he acts up they can recoup some of the signing bonus, so it might not all be guaranteed either...

I'm curious how the Pats worked the cap to sign him.  I thought they only had about $5M of space... but if you're giving someone a 1-year $15M contract, there's limited ways to fit that into a small cap space.

78 Well, it's definitely a high…

In reply to by lenny65

Well, it's definitely a high risk strategy.  AB is betting on playing well this year (easier to do in NE than Oakland) and getting a massive offer in free agency after this year.  The fact that he was only available via trade this offseason and that his Pittsburgh deal had multiple years of team control built into it depressed his earnings potential.  If the goal is to maximize your earnings over the next couple of years, then this isn't a horrible strategy.  Relative to market, Oakland got him at a bargain.

Despite all of the drama, AB went from having zero guaranteed money in Pittsburgh under a restrictive contract to $9MM in guarantees and the right to be a full free agent next year.  The $30MM in guarantees in his Oakland deal were significantly lower than the guarantees for his peer group (OBJ, Hopkins, Thomas, etc.)  I'm betting that he gets a deal around $55MM -$70MM for 3 years if he plays well in NE.  Remember, this is a world in which Sammy Watkins and Allen Robinson each hit free agency and signed for 3 years/$40-50MM before the 2018 season.

73 Some front office the…

Some front office the Raiders have there....they gave up 3rd and 5th round picks to rent out Antonio Brown for an offseason.

79 This is arguing with…

This is arguing with hindsight. You might as well argue that a 4th down attempt was a bad idea because it didn’t work. 


The Raiders gave up a 3rd and a 5th to see if Brown could fit in. Had it paid off, the get a top two WR for a bargain. It didn’t pay off. They didn’t give up the he picks to rent him for an offseason. They gave up the picks to spin the roulette wheel. Had the kept and used them, they would have been spinning a different roulette wheel. 

83 Yep.

You can criticise the way Oakland handled the whole situation, but the trade itself seemed a very acceptable bet at the time. They’ve ended up paying him nothing. And plenty of 3rd/5th rounders never make it out of camp, or play meaningful downs, so let’s not pretend the price was absurdly high. 

Of course it totally sucks if you’re an Oakland fan; your team once again becomes unwatchable, and why would you be happy about the owner saving $30m?

88 I realize all that, my…

I realize all that, my comment was mostly tongue in cheek. It was a reasonable gamble at the time, but I’m still marvelling at the way it horrifically blew up in their faces. 

100 Wasting the draft picks

There’s no positive way to spin this.  Yes, organizations do strike out on drafting college players with draft picks — and after the fact their GMs are evaluated and criticized for their draft performance when this happens, see almost every FO annual.  The Raiders threw away semi valuable picks when they had a lengthy NFL track record in the transaction.

80 Pretty funny to see the same…

Pretty funny to see the same people who were saying (prior to NE signing him), "Why the hell would anybody want him? He's more trouble than he's worth!!!" and so on, now saying, "Well, that's it. Just give the Pats the SB trophy. With AB, they're gonna be completely unstoppable!!!"

81 It is.  But keep in mind,…

It is.  But keep in mind, when people were saying "anybody" they were thinking of the Jerry Jones's and Dan Snyders and New York Jets of the world.  There's three reasons to think that a team like NE might be able to get more out of him (or perhaps, less of a circus out of him) on the deal he's on than some people might have thought when his destination and deal were still undetermined.  

First, New England has a strong locker room culture and a history of taking problem players and getting something out of them about half the time, and at least not letting them turn into a circus the other half.  (Randy Moss, Corey Dillon, Brandon Browner in the plus column, Albert Haynesworth, Chad Ochocinco in the didn't work out column, for example). 

Second, I think there was also an expectation that if he signed somewhere, it would be on a multi-year deal with a ton of guaranteed money; seeing him sign (anywhere) for a one year prove-it deal lessens the danger of signing him considerably.  

Third... one of the idiots on the local talk radio said something that actually had a bit of insight.  They said that Brown probably threw such a fit because he couldn't stand the idea of playing for Carr, but he should get along with Brady.  I don't necessarily think the Carr part is true, but the fact is that almost any team AB went to, he'd be the focus, the spotlight would be on him, and he would think that he upscaled the QB.  New England, New Orleans, and maybe Seattle, Green Bay, and (for a different reason) Kansas City are the only places that come immediately to mind as places where the QB would be bigger than AB... and as such there's less ability for his diva ways to stress things.  

One final thought... even with AB, no one was going to mistake Oakland for a SB contender this year.  In New England, he has a shot if he plays it straight.  That's a powerful motivator.  

I think there's a handful of teams that could have signed AB to a one year deal that would have elicited a similar response--Seattle, maybe KC, maybe New Orleans.  

86 In regards to your third…

In regards to your third point, I posted something similar here on another thread, back during the whole Helmetgate saga.

I wondered if Brown, having "seen behind the curtain" a bit, was beginning to worry that playing in Oakland would ruin his legacy, much as it almost did to Moss.  If so, perhaps Helmetgate (and his subsequent antics) were part of an attempt to intentionally wear out his welcome in Oakland, in the hopes of going somewhere more suitable.

In any event, I agree that he's more likely to be on his best behavior in Foxboro than he would be probably anywhere else.

85 I think it is being somewhat…

I think it is being somewhat forgotten amidst the craziness just how good a player Antonio Brown has been. He may already be a HOFer if he never plays another down (and we ignore the off-field stuff). This isn’t the Patriots taking a flyer on an overweight Albert Haynesworth, or a washed up Ocho-Cinco. The parallels with the Moss signing are, indeed, eerie.

Now clearly Brown’s behaviour has become increasingly more erratic, to the point of seeming unmanageable, so there’s a decent chance he will washout wherever he goes. The Patriots, however, have the huge competitive advantage of a coach, and star player, with the leverage to simply toss aside any player, no matter how talented or infamous, who does not get into line, without a second question being asked.