Trent Brown signed a monster four-year, $66 million contract with $36.75 million guaranteed last year, and with that, a lot of speculation and massive expectations came.
Brown has come a long way in his young career. After being drafted in the seventh round by San Francisco and playing in only five games, he grew into one of the better tackles in the league, and was then traded to New England before the 2018 season. He had the best season of his career with the Patriots, and that earned him the aforementioned $66 million contract from Oakland. So far, he has most certainly lived up to those expectations.
Health and Reliability
Brown wasn’t able to stay perfectly healthy this past season, but he was able to play in 11 games and saw the field in about 70% of the team’s games. Brown suffered multiple injuries throughout the year, ranging from ankle and knee injuries early in the year to eventually a torn pectoral muscle that sidelined him for a solid chunk of the last half of the year.
The average player with these issues wouldn’t have played in 11 games. The tackle deserves a ton of credit for playing through these injuries as much as he could with the team being in the playoff race for most of the year.
Brown was brought to play like one of the best tackles in the league, and put in a very solid statistical year. In his 582 snaps, Brown received a total grade of 69.1 from Pro Football Focus (PFF), which ranked him 37th among offensive tackles in the NFL. That ranking doesn’t look impressive at first glance, but I’m gonna add some context. Part of PFF’s rankings for tackles is determined by a players snap count, or how available they were. For example, the top players on the list are names like Kyle Ramczk and La’el Collins, who both played over 1,000 snaps, compared to Brown’s 582. His lack of availability hurts him and it’s the reason he’s ranked so low. When Brown was healthy, he played well. He committed just five penalties in the 11 games he started, and allowed only one sack the whole season. PFF gave him a solid 77.8 grade when it came to pass blocking, which ranked 23rd among all tackles. His run-blocking grade was 63.4, which didn’t look as impressive.
Brown had a very solid year, one that was good enough to earn him a trip to the 2019 Pro Bowl, the very first one of his career.
Living up to expectations
With a large contract comes some burden: Brown played well, but does have some room for improvement. He deserves a lot of credit for playing through injuries this year, but one would hope he could stay healthier in 2020 because when he did play, Brown played as well as the Raiders hoped he would when they signed him. The tackle had a very productive year, and it’s very impressive that he was able to put up the numbers he did in spite of playing injured for most of the year.
Over these next few seasons, I expect him to continue to play like the elite lineman he is, and even better if he can stay healthy.
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