There is no such thing as a guaranteed thing in life and in the National Football League. Sometimes, giving a person or player everything they ask for still isn’t enough. With nearly $15M of guaranteed money a mere 48 hours away and having an overwhelming amount of support from head coach and teammates, Antonio Brown wanted out.
When traded to the Oakland Raiders, Brown said and did all the right things. He introduced himself to his teammates and the front office. Displaying an unrivaled workout regiment, all appeared well. Brown looked to be preparing for an absolutely massive season.
In a franchise protecting move, the Raiders front office shrewdly structured Browns contract so as to make sure that he could keep himself acting professionally at least until the start of the season.
With the way things ended in Pittsburgh, concerns about Brown’s commitment to the team arose when he refused to show up for mandatory practices. Brown’s burned feet gave him a medical reason to stay off his feet and keep him out of training camp; A complete 180 from the guy he had been all through OTA’s.
The most under-reported (and mis-reported) part of whole saga turned out to the be the most important: the Raiders risked no money, could always get out of contract before the season started if Brown was, well, what they feared he would be. Actual guaranteed money: $0.00
— Andrew Brandt (@AndrewBrandt) September 7, 2019
How do the Raiders win?
According to Spotrac, the Raiders currently have $30.4M in 2019 cap space.
Income tax free Nevada is attracting a lot of attention from all players who are serious about their money. The front office appears to have drafted well, and improved the roster significantly by making honest and tough football decisions. They had a plan in free agency and executed it, selecting only their guys and not overpaying for anyone.
General manager Mike Mayock and his staff took a very calculated risk. While they may no longer have the services of Brown, the only thing it cost them were draft picks to a draft which has already past. They would not pay Brown for not showing up to work.
Mayock and head coach Jon Gruden are demonstrating a willingness to do whatever it takes to make this team better. Understanding football isn’t for the faint of heart, they look at players with questionable backgrounds. Despite all the negative ads and posts which have come out about Brown, Gruden had Brown’s back all the way up until Brown stabbed him in his.
Everybody is watching and talking about Brown and his antics. Without a doubt players have taken notice of the great lengths the coaching staff is willing to go to take care of their own. That resonates with any employee at any company, let alone an organization as closely knit as a football team.
As a player who loves his job or wants to be given every opportunity to succeed what more can you ask for than the culture being established with the Raiders. Relentlessly accused of suffering from a cash-deficiency the Raiders have demonstrated a willingness to pay people what they earn.
The only move the Raiders have made garnering any unanimous praise was the contract extension for Rodney Hudson. Hudson, is and has been the best pass blocking center in the league since he arrived in 2016. Derek Carr may be the face of the franchise, but Hudson has been it’s heartbeat. Hudson is the ultimate “Gruden Grinder” having once played a game while passing kidney stones.
The big question, days away from being answered is can the Raiders win without Brown? They have been in position to do it all four games of the preseason, but now that the bullets are flying for real we will see.