— NFL (@NFL) March 10, 2019
The Oakland Raiders accepted the Antonio Brown challenge. John Gruden and Co. agreed to send a 3rd and 5th round pick in the upcoming draft to the Steelers for the maligned All-Pro receiver. This is shrewd work for newly appointed GM Mike Mayock. Brown will also become the highest paid receiver in the league. His new contract has the potential to pay out $50.125 million over the next three seasons with a guarantee of $30.125 million. It appears throughout this saga Brown wins, the Raiders win, and the Steelers lose more than a distraction. Brown is thrilled.
You: The Raiders stink, Gruden and AB won't get along, he's going to be miserable
Antonio Brown: pic.twitter.com/RcbxjpQpVn
— SI Extra Mustard (@SI_ExtraMustard) March 10, 2019
Let’s be clear, Brown is a 30-year-old superstar with the stats to back up his antics. In 2018, the future Hall of Famer had 104 catches to go along with 1,297 yards and 15 touchdowns. It was his sixth straight season of 100-plus catches, at least 1,250 yards, and a minimum of 8 scores. Oakland’s passing attack was instantly upgraded with the move. But Pittsburgh’s return is only a 3rd and a 5th round pick. Ironically, the Raiders sent the Steelers a 3rd round pick for Martavis Bryant last year! The Raiders essentially traded Amari Cooper, a 3rd and 5th round pick for Antonio Brown and a 1st round pick. Bravo.
The new contract is what makes this interesting. Brown is certainly deserving of the money with his annual numbers, but back in September Coach Gruden acknowledged Khalil Mack’s contract demands were too much for his team’s comfort. Mack was eventually traded to the Bears while agreeing to a 6-year $141 million dollar contract extension. The only difference is Mack is an elite pass rusher that just turned 28. In the NFL, the first to get paid the big bucks are the quarterbacks and those who get after the quarterback, not 30-year-old wide receivers with an attitude.
This deal will probably send shockwaves into the Dallas/Fort Worth area, home of Amari Cooper. Cooper helped invigorate a Cowboys’ offense to the tune of 53 receptions, 725 yards, and 6 scores in nine games. Coincidentally, Dallas won its first playoff game since 2014. Rumor has it the Cowboys would like to re-sign him to an extension. The clock ticks as the 2019 free agency period set to kick-off this Wednesday at 4 p.m. EST.
Until then, stay thirsty! JT out.