The great Bill Belichick strikes again, landing high caliber elite wide receiver Antonio Brown on a one-year deal worth $15 million on the same day he’s released by the Oakland Raiders.
Who on earth saw this coming?
It’s almost unbelievable to see the absolutely unpredictable turn of events that ended up taking place to make now-former Pittsburgh Steeler, and former Oakland Raider, Antonio Brown a member of the 2019-20 New England Patriots.
There was almost some on-again, off-again relationship taking place in the Bay where Antonio Brown was invested, but then not invested in being a part of the Raiders. It was like watching a romantic comedy take place where an extremely dysfunctional couple just never managed to figure it out. However, in this flick, Brown and the Raiders were I guess never really official per say. He never even got to play a single regular-season game in a Raiders uniform before an end was put to that tenure via a Saturday morning release of Brown from Oakland.
There was an uphill unfolding of constant events making headlines daily, whether it was the helmet saga or the threatening of Brown, threats of retirement/ punching a general manager in the face, or even the out of nowhere release of a sort but not really promo video where Brown used what appears to be audio from phone calls with Raiders head coach Jon Gruden.
One cannot make up the ongoing back-and-forth battle that ultimately put an end to perhaps the most highly anticipated new team debut for 2019 (rookies aside).
Now fast forward to six months later from the Raiders acquisition of Brown.
The 31-year-old has agreed to a one-year deal worth $15 million with a $9 million signing bonus.
Not exactly the ideal route of any NFL player, certainly not one of Brown’s stature. To leave a total of $29.1 million on the table in Oakland isn’t exactly a bet that hundreds of thousands in America were racing to the bookies of Vegas to put down and place.
Brown now takes part in what could potentially be an incredibly elite core of receivers with Julian Edelman and Josh “Flash” Gordon. Again. There are questions to be raised in all of this.
Antonio Brown is joining the New England Patriots who don’t exactly fare well in partaking in one’s off-field antics, especially not with the media, making daily headlines for all the wrong reasons. That in itself explains the one-year deal.
Last season as a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Brown
What’s interesting in this blockbuster is the fact that the 2018-19 New England Patriots weren’t exactly a toss-first dominant organization. Through weeks one-to-16, the Patriots targeted tight ends and wide receivers 348 times.
That target split went as such:
- 1). Julian Edelman (102 targets, 69 receptions, 781 yards, 5 touchdowns)
- 2). Josh Gordon (71 targets, 41 receptions, 737 yards, 4 touchdowns)
- 3). Rob Gronkowski (67 targets, 45 receptions, 658 yards, 3 touchdowns)
- 4). Phillip Dorsett (32 targets, 27 receptions, 256 yards, 2 touchdowns)
- 5). Cordarrelle Patterson (28 targets, 21 receptions, 247 yards, 3 touchdowns)
- 6). Jacob Hollister (5 targets, 4 receptions, 52 yards)
- 7). Dwayne Allen (4 targets, 3 receptions, 27 yards)
So what about Antonio Brown in 2018? Well last season Brown notched a total of 168 targets alone. That accompanied his career-high 15 touchdown season in which Brown racked up 1,297 yards off 104 receptions in 15 games played.
Plain and simple. New England isn’t an offense who relied heavily on a dominant passing game in order to finish where they did. The playoff emergence of now second-year man Sony Michel goes to show how Bill Belichick and Tom Brady run the greatest legacy in the history of football.
Nevertheless, expect that to change in Foxboro. Brown will absolutely change the approach New England takes in week one against his former Pittsburgh Steelers.
With the soon-to-be hall of fame tight end Rob Gronkowski gone due to retirement, Brown is now the undoubted number one in New England. Side note: Does Gronk now come back? Do the Patriots enter the post-season in 2020 with 42-year-old Tom Brady having Julian Edelman, Flash Gordon, Antonio Brown, and Rob Gronkowski? A New Englanders dream that’s very much so within the realm of possibilities.
The 2019-20 Patriots kickoff tomorrow against the Pittsburgh Steelers at 8:20 PM EST.