The Oakland Raiders agreed on a deal on Saturday night to acquire the prolific but disgruntled receiver Antonio Brown from the Pittsburgh Steeler
The Oakland Raiders agreed on a deal on Saturday night to acquire the prolific but disgruntled receiver Antonio Brown from the Pittsburgh Steelers and will give him the lucrative new contract he wanted. Sources say the Raiders will give Brown a new three-year contract worth $50.1m instead of the $38.9m, he was owed by Pittsburgh. Pro Football Talk first reported the deal and says Pittsburgh will get third and fifth-round draft picks from Oakland.
The trade makes final what became a messy and very public divorce between Brown and the team that helped turn the sixth-round pick into arguably the greatest wide receiver of his generation. It also gives the Raiders a high-profile addition for head coach Jon Gruden after the team traded away two of the teams biggest stars last year in edge rusher Khalil Mack and receiver Amari Cooper. Oakland got extra first-round picks in those trades but didnt need to give up any of its four picks in the top 35 in the upcoming draft to acquire Brown, who has topped 100 receptions and 1,200 yards receiving in each of the past six seasons. The Raiders have had only one player reach those marks in a single season in franchise history, with Hall of Famer Tim Brown accomplishing the feat in 1997.
Brown now gives quarterback Derek Carr his biggest offensive weapon since entering the league in 2014 and the Raiders a legitimate star before they move to Las Vegas for the 2020 season. The Raiders top wide receiver last season was Jordy Nelson, who had 63 catches for 739 yards.
Gruden has always admired Brown from his time as a broadcaster and had nothing but praise for the receiver before the teams played last December. Hes the hardest working man, I think, in football, Gruden said. Hardest working player Ive ever seen practice. Ive seen Jerry Rice, Ive seen a lot of good ones, but I put Antonio Brown at the top. If there are any young wideouts out there, Id go watch him practice. You figure out yourself why hes such a good player.
Brown was obviously pleased with the development, posting a video with Carr at a Pro Bowl with the caption Love at first sight on his Twitter account.
Brown is no stranger to drawing headlines for both his prolific on-field production and his off-the-field activity, including livestreaming from the locker room after a playoff win over Kansas City in January 2017 and getting pulled over for driving at 100mph in the Pittsburgh suburbs last fall.
The sometimes tumultuous relationship between the only player in NFL history with six straight 100-catch seasons and the franchise that made him the highest-paid player at his position in the spring of 2017 reached a breaking point in late December. Steelers coach Mike Tomlin benched Brown during the regular-season finale against Cincinnati after the wide receiver went radio silent in the final 48 hours before the game. Brown arrived in a fur coat, attended the game for a half and then disappeared from view until well after his teammates had cleaned out their lockers following a 9-6-1 season that left Pittsburgh on the outside of the playoffs for the first time since 2013.
When Brown did resurface, he began engaging in a series of increasingly antagonistic acts designed to expedite his departure. He went on Instagram with former Steelers linebacker James Harrison during Tomlins season wrap-up press conference. He decried quarterback Ben Roethlisbergers owners mentality and chastised Tomlin for disciplining him in Week 17, no matter that Tomlin and the rest of the organization had spent years downplaying Browns off-the-field eccentricities.
Brown officially requested a trade last month, but not before Photoshopping his familiar No84 onto a San Francisco 49ers jersey and using his social media feeds to indicate not only his displeasure with the Steelers but also his interest in signing a new deal with whomever should acquire his services.
Even with his benching in the finale, Brown caught 104 passes for 1,297 yards and a franchise-record and NFL-high 15 touchdowns. His last game in a Pittsburgh uniform might have been one of his best, a 14-reception, 185-yard, two-touchdown masterpiece in a road loss to New Orleans.
A week later, the player who once said he wanted to retire a Steeler didnt even suit up against the Bengals. Just over two months later, he now finds himself heading to the second act of a career thats on a Hall of Fame trajectory, while the Steelers have a hole at receiver and more than $21m in dead money on their salary cap.
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