Raiders

Star receiver Antonio Brown traded to Raiders for two 2019 NFL draft picks

Star receiver Antonio Brown traded to Raiders for two 2019 NFL draft picks

Jon Gruden made his big splash Saturday night.

The Raiders are acquiring star wide receiver Antonio Brown from the Pittsburgh Steelers, a source confirmed to NBC Sports California. The Raiders confirmed the trade on Wednesday when the new league year began.

The Silver and Black agreed to send a 2019 third-round pick and a 2019 fifth-round selection to Pittsburgh in the trade when it becomes official on Wednesday. 

The Raiders add a true No. 1 receiver to the pattern and a big contract to the payroll. Brown reportedly is  getting a raise, according to Pro Football Talk. 

The 30-year-old seemed to confirm the news himself on social media. 

Brown is worth top dollar if he continues to produce at his current rate. The four-time first-team All-Pro has at least 100 catches and 1,284 yards in each of the last six seasons and widely is considered among the NFL’s truly elite targets.

Just two days ago, it appeared that Brown was heading elsewhere. NFL Media's Ian Rapoport reported Thursday that the Buffalo Bills were "closing in on a deal" to acquire Brown.

However, the deal fell through, and Bills general manager Brandon Beane revealed Friday that the Bills had moved on from their pursuit. That opened the door for the Raiders to jump back into the equation, and they capitalized.

Brown’s work ethic is unquestioned, something Gruden has effusively praised in the past. He also has a bond with Raiders quarterback Derek Carr, as evidenced by filmed interactions at past Pro Bowls and Brown's own social media post Saturday night. 

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bu0OT3QhGb2/

Brown instantly will improve the Raiders’ offense and is a scheme fit for Gruden’s often-complex offense that requires pass catchers to learn and play every receiver position. 

Brown was traded after his relationship with the Steelers deteriorated, and his behavior has seemed erratic and suggests he can be a malcontent, but the Raiders didn’t worry much about that when weighing whether to acquire him. He’s a dynamic talent entering a franchise with a strong coach who believes Brown will fit in well wearing silver and black.

Brown should help the Raiders win more in 2019 and be a top receiving option for several seasons into the franchise’s scheduled move to Las Vegas in 2020. The Raiders had to give up draft capital to acquire him, meaning they lose two cheap young prospects in exchange for an established, soon-to-be 31-year-old.

[RELATED: Raiders could benefit from loaded free-agent safety class]

That’s a risk for a rebuilding team with so many needs remaining in a difficult AFC West, and the move wasn’t taken lightly. The Raiders weighed multiple factors and put a ceiling value on Brown’s acquisition that they wouldn’t exceed.

After analyzing a detailed pros and cons list, the Raiders ultimately decided to make a deal and bring in one of the best receivers of this generation. 

What Raiders head coach Jon Gruden learned from his first football job

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AP

What Raiders head coach Jon Gruden learned from his first football job

Jon Gruden is one of the most respected football minds in the country.

Even with a 10-year hiatus from coaching to work in the broadcast booth, the former Super Bowl-winning coach was coveted by Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis.

In 2018, Gruden was finally convinced to come back down to the sidelines by Davis.

What where did Gruden get his start? As a graduate assistant under head coach Johnny Majors at the University of Tennessee in 1986.

"I learned I knew nothing and my only chance was to work hard and take notes," Gruden told ESPN's Paul Gutierrez. "Walt Harris, at Tennessee, gave me no choice. Little things. Details. He always emphasized that preparation and presentation go hand in hand."

Harris, a San Francisco native and future Stanford head coach, was Tennessee's offensive coordinator at the time.

Thirty-three years later, Gruden still leans on what he learned during his time in Knoxville.

"First impressions go a long way, you know?" Gruden told Gutierrez. "The guys that helped train me to coach ... I pattern my whole career after those guys, getting in a routine, how to study tape, trying to not underestimate any detail. Just trying to cover every base. You've got to do the preparation before you present the game plan."

[RELATED: Carr a potential MVP sleeper]

After going 4-12 in his first season back at the helm of the Raiders, Gruden is looking for better results in 2019. He and new general manager Mike Mayock have added major weapons on offense in an attempt to change their fortune.

Now, it's a matter of imparting the wisdom he's gained over the last 33 years on his players.

Aaron Rodgers calls Ex-Raider Charles Woodson best defender he ever faced

Aaron Rodgers calls Ex-Raider Charles Woodson best defender he ever faced

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has faced a multitude of impressive defensive players in his 14-year NFL career. During a recent interview at the American Century Championship celebrity golf tournament at Lake Tahoe with NBC Sports NFL Analyst Chris Simms, Rodgers was asked which defensive player he's feared the most during his career. 

"It’s Charles Woodson,” Rodgers told Simms during an episode of "Unbuttoned."

“I got to go against him in practice for years. Nobody had better instincts, could bait quarterbacks better than him, more talent, ball skills, coverage ability, smart little nuances of the position. He’s the best. By far.”

Rodgers was teammates with Woodson with the Green Bay Packers from 2006-2012, and they helped lead the Pack to a Super Bowl victory in 2010. He grew a particular appreciation for Woodson during his time practicing against the cornerback while they were both in Green Bay.

“Charles dominated in a way I never saw anybody dominate before. The 2009 season, one of the greatest seasons I’ve ever seen,” Rodgers said. “What he did on defense, impacting the game, I’ve never seen a player impact the game that way until Aaron Donald.”

In 2009, Woodson had nine interceptions and was named the Defensive Player of the Year along with being named First-Team All-Pro. The former MVP quarterback also doesn't feel that Woodson has exhausted all of his ability on the field.

[RELATED: 49ers, Raiders picked to be among most improved teams by NFL analyst]

"He could probably still play today, he's in that kinda shape, you know," Rodgers told Simms.

Woodson previously has denied that he has any intention of returning to the NFL, but Raider Nation no doubt would be excited to see that No. 24 jersey back on the field in the Silver and Black.