The Raiders appeared to reach their breaking point with Antonio Brown on Sunday.
After the star receiver missed practice again upon getting more bad news on the helmet front, general manager Mike Mayock delivered a public ultimatum to the Raiders' prized offseason acquisition. Either he's "all-in or all-out."
Brown remains upset that the NFL won't allow him to wear the Schutt Air Advantage helmet he's worn for his entire career, a model that reportedly now finds itself on the banned list altogether, regardless of the year it was manufactured.
With the Raiders at their wits end with Brown, the question naturally arises: What options do head coach Jon Gruden and Mayock have?
The options, according to ProFootballTalk's Mike Florio, are limited.
If Brown continues to stay away from camp over a helmet issue that isn't going to go his way, the Raiders obviously could cut him. They would owe him the $30 million in guaranteed money over the next two years, that cost would be reduced based on how much Brown signs with his next team for.
The Raiders also could send Brown a five-day letter, which demands he show up to the team within five days or else he will be placed on the reserve/left list and the Raiders can shut him down for the season. If Brown is placed on the reserve/left squad list, he won't be allowed to play for the Raiders or anyone else this season, and the Raiders would not have to pay him.
If Brown comes back to the team and continues to be a thorn in the Raiders' side, they can always discipline him via fines and suspensions. That course of action, obviously, might create even more issues with a receiver who has shown to be sensitive at times.
The Raiders aren't going to cut Brown, he's too central to their plans to turn the ship around. The five-day letter is a last-ditch option that might alienate Brown and lead to an even bigger headache for a team working to build chemistry as the season quickly approaches.
Since #HelmetGate began almost two weeks ago, I've maintained that Brown will play. He's not going to walk away from $30 million in guaranteed money or the other $20 million that will come should he start to play the good soldier again.
Smart money is on Brown finding a helmet that works for him, and returning to the Raiders soon. But with AB, you never know.