On March 10, 2019, the Raiders agreed to a four-year, $66 million contract with New England Patriots right tackle Trent Brown, making him the highest paid offensive lineman in NFL history.
On March 9, 2021, the Raiders admitted the huge deal was a mistake and cut ties with Brown, sending him back to New England for a 2022 fifth-round pick. The Las Vegas Raiders will send a 2022 seventh-round pick back to the Patriots along with Brown.
Can confirm the #Patriots will acquire offensive tackle Trent Brown and a seventh-round pick in 2022 from the Raiders in exchange for a fifth-round pick. Brown, who was terrific in his one year in NE, has a agreed to a one-year deal worth up to $11 million. ESPN first to report.— Jim McBride (@globejimmcbride) March 9, 2021
The fact that Las Vegas accepted such a meager return for Brown shows the Raiders valued his salary-cap room more than him. He was due to make more than $16 million this season, and there is no dead cap money involved.
The decision to jettison Brown was based on his lack of availability. Brown missed 16 of 32 games with the Raiders and he missed 11 games in 2020. When he did play, though, Brown was dominant. Still, there were rumblings of how much Brown wanted to be a Raider.
The fact that he accepted a re-worked deal with New England is either an indication that the Raiders didn’t want him back at a reduced rate or that Brown didn’t want to return to the Raiders at a reduced rate.
While the Raiders are freeing cap room, they do need to add right tackle to their shopping list. Right now, Brandon Parker would likely be the favorite to start, but surely, Las Vegas will add at the position.
Per Spotrac, at an adjusted cap of $192.7 million (including 2020 rollovers) the @Raiders have a projected $36 million in cap space. That could grow depending on Marcus Mariota either getting released/traded.— Vincent Bonsignore (@VinnyBonsignore) March 9, 2021
Brown is the third starting offensive lineman the Raiders are reportedly walking away from. It has been reported they are cutting guards Gabe Jackson and Richie Incognito.
While salary cap shedding has begun, there is major work to be done to replace all these former Raiders.