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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.

UPDATE:

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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Comments

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

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.