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.
Per source, Antonio Brown's three-year haul will increase from $38.925 million to $50.125 million, per source. No new years will be added.— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) March 10, 2019
Per source, Antonio Brown's guaranteed money has gone from $0 over the next three years to $30.125M fully guaranteed.— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) March 10, 2019
The 30-year-old seemed to confirm the news himself on social media.
☠️☠️☠️ #RaiderNation pic.twitter.com/ul6lIVk9dE— AB (@AB84) March 10, 2019
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.
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.
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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.