Antonio Brown got what he wanted when the Raiders released him two weeks ago, but the move could cost him nearly $30 million.
Brown joined the New England Patriots hours after Oakland cut him at his request once the $29.125 million in contract guarantees were voided by the Raiders. He signed an incentive-laden deal with New England for $1 million guaranteed and a $9 million signing bonus, and it's possible Brown sees very little of that.
The Patriots cut Brown on Friday after Sports Illustrated reported Thursday that someone with a phone number believed to be Brown's reportedly sent intimidating text messages to a woman who accused him of sexual misconduct. They might have to pay Brown his signing bonus through a representation warranty clause that says the four-time All-Pro breached his contract by not disclosing "an existing situation that would have prevented his continued availability," a league source told ESPN's Jeremy Fowler and Dan Graziano. If Brown was aware he was facing a federal lawsuit from his former trainer Britney Taylor alleging sexual assault, New England wouldn't have to pay either installment of his signing bonus Monday and on Jan. 15.
As ESPN's Field Yates pointed out Saturday morning, Brown's potential final 2019 salary -- assuming he does not sign elsewhere this season -- would look much different than when the Raiders traded for the receiver in March and signed him to a new deal.
If Antonio Brown does not wind up receiving his $9M signing bonus from the Patriots (the first $5M was due to be paid on Monday), he will go from a $30M guarantee in March to $9M guaranteed to just $158,333 made for 2019.— Field Yates (@FieldYates) September 20, 2019
To be exact: Subtracting Brown's single-game check from his $29.125 million Raiders guarantee leaves him $28,966,677 shy of the money he thought he would receive in his re-worked deal.
Brown thanked the Patriots for his short stint in Foxboro after his release Friday, but it's very possible he'll sing a different tune if New England does not pay his bonus. ESPN reported Friday that a signing bonus is thought to be "money earned" by the NFL Players Association, and the union likely would file a grievance on Brown's behalf if the Patriots tried not to pay his bonus.
Even though he's now looking to join his fourth team this calendar year, don't expect Brown's name to fall out of headlines any time soon.
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