Antonio Brown is a one-man gang of disruption and destruction.
Before he allegedly threatened to whack Raiders General Manager Mike Mayock on Thursday, his avalanche of unchecked idiocy only resulted in him getting traded from Pittsburgh to Oakland and getting an additional $31M.
Now that $31M is imperiled since the Raiders are saber-rattling about suspending him and could conceivably cut him since he’s already in default of honoring the deal he signed just a few months ago, according to Pro Football Talk.
That will make it harder for him to pay traffic tickets for going 100 in a 45 (if he bothers to show up in court) or settle lawsuits with elderly gentlemen who he nearly hit with furniture launched from his Florida condo. It won’t make it harder for him to pay his coterie of personal chefs and assistants because apparently paying those people is optional for him.
All the Raiders need to do is cut him. They’ll be out a couple of draft picks and have a headache fighting with the NFLPA in the inevitable litigation but at least Brown won’t harpoon their season the way he did the Steelers season last year.
When and if the Raiders make that move, the universal assumption is that the Patriots will come knocking, add Brown and then score 90 a game with AB, Flash, DT and Jules and nobody will ever wonder about Gronk anymore.
Is that a reach?
Well, Brown taped a phone call with agent Drew Rosenhaus last spring in which Rosenhaus said the Patriots were interested in trading for Brown, so it’s not by any means beyond the realm.
(Also, throw that idiocy in there – taping a phone call with your agent then posting it on a podcast. But Brown had prior surveillance experience having surreptitiously taped the Steelers postgame locker room after a Steelers playoff win in 2016)
It sure didn’t sound like the Patriots interest was a ruse.
Rosenhaus: “The Patriots are in the mix,” said Rosenhaus. “I put Belichick in touch with (Steelers general manager) Kevin Colbert today."
Brown: "How is a decision going to come down? Is it going to come down to what club is willing to give up the most?"
Rosenhaus: "From the Steelers' standpoint, that's what they want. They want the most compensation. I really want you to have a good quarterback ... and a winning environment. New England and Philadelphia, these are two of the last Super Bowl champs. ..."
The Patriots came up again later in the conversation.
Rosenhaus: "The Steelers have been big communicators with me. We've talked a couple times everyday about the teams. They know (playing in a winning environment is) important to us, and that's why they opened it up for the Patriots as well. That's a good development for us. They're now willing to trade you to New England. So, now it's a process of New England stepping up. That's not great business for the Steelers to trade you to the world champs in the same conference."
Here's another part of the convo where the Patriots came up.
Rosenhaus: "And I think the Steelers are taking it very seriously and trying to get it done. And that's why they're willing to consider even New England. Think about that, think about playing with the greatest quarterback in NFL history, and he's a cool guy."
There are other parts of the conversation that involve the Patriots as well. Rosenhaus expressed confidence in being able to get a contract done with the Patriots if it came to that point, saying "I don’t think we’ll have any problem getting a deal done with these guys."
It’s important to point out here that the Patriots won’t be trading for Brown. His contract would travel with him and – unless I’m missing my mark – New England won’t be paying Mr. Big Chest $14.65M in salary this year or any year.
But if Brown does get lopped by Oakland, would the Patriots still have any interest?
Clearly, he’s really good at football when he hasn’t frozen off the first couple layers of skin on his feet as he did this summer in Paris.
But is that enough to invite this Demolition Man into their locker room and put him next to the troubled Josh Gordon and rookie N’Keal Harry and hope he’s not a horrific influence on them if/when he shows up on time and is in meetings?
Is being good at football enough reason to import a guy who – whether it’s driving like an asshole or launching furniture from height – shows he doesn’t care too much about what may happen to other people when he’s in a snit?
I’m old enough to remember the summer of 2013 when the Patriots were rending their garments about what Aaron Hernandez wrought and how they’d been duped. Now here’s a guy all but wearing a sandwich board that says, “NOT A GOOD GUY TO HAVE AROUND” and the Patriots are just a few months from considering hiring him?
Maybe that was just Rosenhaus puffing for Brown. Maybe it was just Belichick gaining intel on the landscape.
I remember a conversation I had with former Patriots GM Scott Pioli after the Patriots signed Corey Dillon. Why did the Patriots overlook his litany of bad behavior with the Bengals?
Because Dillon – like Randy Moss after him – acted out mostly when the football was going badly. Their dustups were mostly related to things they said or did after something didn’t go right for them on the field. Not enough touches. Not enough wins. Not enough playing time. The off-field stuff was sophomoric, not sinister.
If the football was done right, maybe those talented but combustible players would behave more predictably. And both did. For a while.
Maybe Brown would too.
Even though he’s a narcissistic, self-absorbed conflict creator.
Even though his behavior has been excused and/or rewarded so often he is stunned to find that Mayock and the Raiders are telling him, “No.”
Even though his recipe for conflict resolution is to throw a tantrum and – gasp – unfollow offending parties on social media.
Maybe he’d pocket the idiocy just long enough in an effort to prove people wrong and the Patriots could profit from his bout of temporary adult behavior.
But the better bet is that AB would go on being AB.
And the smartest move for the Patriots is to run like hell from any suggestion Brown should be rewarded with an opportunity to play for them.
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