Drew Rosenhaus

Why Drew Rosenhaus hopes Antonio Brown-Raiders trade sets precedent

Why Drew Rosenhaus hopes Antonio Brown-Raiders trade sets precedent

Antonio Brown's agent hopes his client is a trendsetter. 

Despite Brown having three years left on his contract and the trade necessitating a massive amount of dead money on their books, the Pittsburgh Steelers traded Brown to the Raiders for just a third- and a fifth-round pick. Agent Drew Rosenhaus thinks the deal could set a precedent for players under contract who are unhappy in their current situation. 

“What I hope it does is maybe bring some more balance," Rosenhaus told NBC Sports' Peter King in his Football Morning in America column. "There aren’t many players like Antonio Brown but perhaps—and I’m not suggesting that everybody go out and try to renegotiate their deal or ask for a trade—but I hope it gives players more leverage throughout the league.

"I hope it gives agents more confidence that they can affect something in a way that can make a positive change for their clients. Maybe this is a deal that’s bigger than just one particular contract.”

As Rosenhaus himself notes, Brown is a unique case. He is one of the very best players at his position, catching at least 100 passes for at least 1,200 yards and at least eight touchdowns in each of the past six seasons. Brown made the Pro Bowl in each of those years and was first-team All-Pro every season from 2014 to 2017. 

Furthermore, his relationship with the Steelers was especially strained. Beginning with his Facebook Live stream from inside the Pittsburgh locker room in 2017 and culminating with his benching in Week 17 last season, it became clear that Brown's relationship with the team was no longer tenable. A player without Brown's pedigree likely wouldn't have had the same leash before the Steelers ultimately decided to part ways. 

[RELATED: Brown takes jab at Bills for false rumors]

Still, Brown's trade definitely represents a departure from business as usual in the NFL. This is an owner-driven and owner-dominated league, where player contracts are not guaranteed and the average career lasts about three years. The Brown saga, frankly, was far more NBA-like. 

If football players begin to have more power like their basketball peers, Brown's trade to the Raiders would mark a clear turning point. 

Trent Brown's agent says Bill Belichick made NFL free agency push on vacation

trentbrownbbap.jpg
AP

Trent Brown's agent says Bill Belichick made NFL free agency push on vacation

Newly signed Raiders left tackle Trent Brown got a pretty penny to leave the New England Patriots at the start of NFL free agency last week.

On the same day Brown decided to join the Raiders, his old coach was enjoying a moment in the sun. Literally. 

Patriots coach Bill Belichick was photographed with his girlfriend while vacationing in Barbados on the same day the early negotiating period began. You can't exactly blame the guy, considering the Patriots have won 10 consecutive AFC East titles and three of the last five Super Bowls. 

When your divisional competition consists of the New York Jets, Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins, you can afford a day off. But it turns out Belichick was on a working vacation, and Trent Brown's agent said the coach was making a push to re-sign the offensive lineman. 

“Don’t let those photos fool you,” Drew Rosenhaus told NBC Sports' Peter King in his Football Morning in America column. “We talked one morning at 4:30 about Trent Brown. They wanted to keep him."

Brown started all 16 regular-season games and all three playoff games for the Patriots last season, and protected quarterback Tom Brady's blind side. New England allowed just 21 sacks in the regular season -- third-fewest in the NFL -- and only one in the postseason. In 2017, the Pats allowed 35 in the regular season.

[RELATED: After upgrading offense, Raiders need more on defense]

It was a different story in Oakland last year, when the Raiders allowed 52 sacks. That tied for the fifth-most in the NFL, and made upgrading their pass protection a priority this season.

The Raiders were able to do so, and weaken a league powerhouse in the process. Still, Belichick's Barbados break is a pretty good indicator that he and the Patriots aren't stressing their standing entering 2019. 

Even if he was working during it.

Mike Mayock's handling of Antonio Brown trade impressed Drew Rosenhaus

Mike Mayock's handling of Antonio Brown trade impressed Drew Rosenhaus

Coach Jon Gruden has the final word on Raiders personnel matters. That has been the case since he returned to the Silver and Black last year, even while working with a general manager.

Reggie McKenzie had input on decisions, and was in charge of negotiating trades and contracts within the scope of Gruden’s vision. He was let go in December and replaced by Mike Mayock, who holds similar responsibilities and has a prominent voice on how the Raiders execute their offseason plans.

Mayock was heavily involved in executing Saturday’s agreement to trade for Antonio Brown, the receiver’s agent said on NFL Network, and was the Raiders' negotiator in the subsequent contract restructuring.

The Raiders have salary-cap experts involved in contract offers, and everything happens according to Gruden’s desire, but Mayock is part of that team. Rosenhaus said he came away impressed by Mayock’s acumen as representative during contract talks in his first front-office job following many years as NFL Network's premier draft analyst.

“Mayock is a talented general manager and a tough negotiator,” Rosenhaus said in a televised interview Sunday. “Any chance you could take him back? He’s a hard guy to strike a bargain with. …

"He did a good job. You would’ve thought he was a veteran NFL general manger. He was very sharp and very professional. He actually worked on Antonio’s deal with me.”

Rosenhaus also gave some insight regarding the timeline of the Brown deal. The Raiders were involved for some time, but things heated up Friday. The Steelers gave the Raiders permission to negotiate an updated contract with Rosenhaus after agreeing on trade compensation.

The contract was a hang-up, considering Brown gained some leverage by threatening to withhold services without new money in his deal. He got that eventually, when a three-year, roughly $50 million contract update with $30 million guaranteed was hammered throughout Saturday. Brown also liked the idea of going to the Raiders to play under Gruden and with quarterback Derek Carr.

“It was a win-win,” Rosenhaus said. “Jon Gruden was a big part of this, as was Derek Carr. Certainly, Antonio is great receiver, one of the best of all time, but it’s hard to reach your potential if you don’t have an offensive coach or a quarterback to help you execute.

"We’re thankful Antonio got a new contract. We’re thankful Antonio is with the Raiders, one of the marquee franchises in the NFL, and we’re very excited that he has a terrific coach and a terrific quarterback.”

[RELATED: AB's young son already rockin' silver and black]

The trade came about because Brown had a falling-out in Pittsburgh and demanded a trade from the Steelers.

“It’s important to get a fresh start,” Rosenhaus said. “It was good for him to have a new relationship with a new organization.”

More on the Antonio Brown trade

How Brown should change the Raiders' offense next season
Carr among the Raiders pumped about the Brown trade
Vegas changes Raiders' Super Bowl odds after the deal
Niners didn't want Brown, but they would like OBJ