Making Sense of the Antonio Brown Saga

Michael Pallas | September 11th, 2019 

Antonio Brown is officially a member of the New England Patriots, but how did we get to this point? Well. Let’s take a look back at Brown’s mess from Pittsburgh to Oakland to New England.

At the beginning of the offseason, Brown was in Pittsburgh. The saga began with the Buffalo Bills. There were reports that a trade was imminent, but at the 11th hour Buffalo backed out, reportedly due to Brown’s unwillingness to commit to reporting to the team.
Then the Steelers finally were able to trade Brown to the Raiders for the third and fifth-round picks. It looked as if the Steelers were just trying to unload a troubled player for anything they could get. Then, the “clown show” began. (I will explain why I put clown show in parentheses a little later).

When he arrived in Oakland, it was with much fanfare. It also came with a contract extension that gave him — according to Spotrac — $30.1 million in guaranteed money.
Then we saw a different side of Brown than many expected. From arriving in a hot air balloon to finding out that he wasn’t going to practice due to cryotherapy causing frostbite on his feet, to getting into a heated argument with his general manager to fines to eventually getting released, everything that could go wrong did.

After being released, he was signed within hours by the Patriots on what is essentially a one-year deal worth $10 million guaranteed that could garner $4.5 million in incentives. It looks like he took a massive pay cut to end up in New England, but there could be more to the story.

Before the games began on Sunday, Adam Schefter reported that the Patriots tried to trade for Brown when the Steelers were shopping the disgruntled receiver.

That made everything make sense. Many people have called Brown a clown, and they also hope he topples the New England dynasty.

There’s only one way for this to make any sense from beginning to end. Brown and/or his agent — Drew Rosenhaus — found out through the grapevine that New England offered a deal to the Steelers and they refused to do business with the Patriots.

So, what did they do? They finagled Buffalo out of a deal, but when they realized there was no hope to get to the Patriots via trade, they didn’t do the same to Oakland. Instead, he signed an extension to make it look like he wanted to play in Oakland for the long-term. Then, he acted the fool in Oakland to give them no choice but to release him and make him a free agent. Thus, allowing him to sign anywhere.

The Steelers could end up looking like the clowns in the end in this story. They got less than they could’ve for Brown, and the Patriots can get a compensatory draft if the second-year option isn’t exercised and Brown ends up signing a free-agent deal elsewhere.

It looks to me like Brown played the system like a fiddle and got what he wanted from the point he potentially found out the Steelers refused to send him to New England.

Questions and comments?

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