Making a trade for arguably the best receiver in the NFL may seem like anything but conservative. And you could argue that it isn’t if you like. But unless you’re really looking for negatives, it’s hard to criticize how the Raiders went about acquiring Antonio Brown.
Friday, the team made several moves to retain key players. They weren’t flashy, but necessary. They placed round two tenders on starting cornerback Daryl Worley and receiving scat back, Jalen Richard. They also held onto safety and special teams maven Erik Harris on a 2-year deal.
Those deals along with the previous one to re-sign reserve guard Denzelle Good on a one-year deal are under-the-radar smart moves that keep the necessary pieces in place.
Another necessity for the immediate hopeful improvement of this team was to get Derek Carr a weapon. The big name out there — and it’s a very big one — was Antonio Brown, who was loudly demanding a trade from the Steelers and for a lot of guaranteed money to come with that.
Jon Gruden is not known for having a poker face. He wears his emotions all over his face, hence the nickname ‘Chucky’. It was no secret he loved Antonio Brown and no secret to the Steelers he wanted to make a trade for him. And after some of the trades he has made since taking over the Raiders last year, there was reason to worry he would get overzealous and sell the farm for Brown.
The Steelers were said to be asking for a first round pick. That would suggest maybe the Raiders’ picks at 24 and 27 overall were in play. They may have even been perfectly fine with the Raiders pick at 35 at the top of the second. But any of those picks should have been off limits in this deal. Anything higher than their pick at 66 overall in the third round would be too much, even for a player as talented as Brown.
After all, he is about to turn 31, has raised some serious concerns about his character with the way he has handled his trade demands this offseason, and has made no bones about how much money he would like to be paid and how he won’t settle for ‘unguarantees.’
In the end, the Raiders got Brown for that pick at 66th overall in the third round and pick 141 in the fifth round. That’s a good deal.
They stood their ground on not giving up their pick at 35 and they won.
As for the salary, reports were that Brown was wanting to get a raise to make him the highest paid receiver in football. He would have had to get a deal that averaged over $18 million to surpass Odell Beckham Jr. What he got was no additional years on the three years he had left in his contract with the Steelers, but with $30 million in guarantees where he had none and a total of $50 million. That puts his average at $16.7 million per season, which is actually slightly less than what he was averaging, but additional money for him overall.
Raiders are adding money to Antonio Brown’s deal: He now will have three years worth $50.125 million - with incentives to go to $54.125 million, per source.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 10, 2019
Where there was no guaranteed money there’s now $30.125 million guaranteed, per source.
Those guarantees though. They’re important. Some believe NFL players shouldn’t have to sign contracts with so much non-guaranteed money. It ends up making contracts one-sided in the team’s favor. But Brown wasn’t having it. He wanted his guarantees, and you can’t blame him for that. And the Raiders didn’t make him the highest paid receiver in football, so they got that.
The Raiders get a true number one at 31 years old who has at least two elite years left in him for two mid round picks and Brown gets security. Oh, and Derek Carr gets easily the best receiver he’s ever had in his life catching passes from him.
And everyone’s happy.
What grade would you give the trade and contract for Antonio Brown?
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