So, now what?
Antonio Brown's rollercoaster tenure with the Oakland Raiders came to a close on Saturday as the after he took to Instagram demanding that be the end result. You can , but for the purposes of this discussion we're looking forward to what's possibly next for AB.
His agent Drew Rosenhaus released a statement following the release saying that "we are focused on the future and I will immediately work on signing him to a new team. Antonio is looking forward to a new beginning."
Ryan Wilson, John Breech and Sean Wagner-McGough broke down the latest development in the ongoing Brown saga in an emergency Saturday edition of the Pick Six Podcast. Listen below and be sure to subscribe wherever you get your podcasts:
As Brown's camp begins that search for a new squad, our friends at SportsLine have come out with some theoretical odds on which team he will suit up for next.
It's really no surprise the Patriots are the early favorites to land AB. Bill Belichick and company are famous for turning disgruntled/troubled superstars into happy campers en route to their latest Lombardi Trophy. They did it with running back Corey Dillon, receiver Randy Moss and most recently brought in wideout Josh Gordon. In general, it's worked out for New England.
As it relates to Brown, they'd obviously only think about bringing him in if it were under a team-friendly, prove-it deal. Given his current standing in the league, that's probably all he's looking at. The Pats could use another impact receiver with first round pick N'Keal Harry on short-term IR, Demaryius Thomas coming off an Achilles tear and Josh Gordon's off-the-field issues always being a question mark. The question is whether or not Brown can be the guy.
One thing to remember with New England's potential pursuit of AB is that Bill Belichick is very close friends with Raiders GM Mike Mayock. Surely, he'd get the inside scoop before making such a move.
What adds legs to the 49ers possibly going after Brown is his relationship with legendary Niners receiver Jerry Rice. Prior to being shipped to the Raiders, Rice made headlines saying that he'd mentor Brown if he ended up in San Francisco. The 49ers do have a solid group of pass catchers for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, including rookie Deebo Samuel, wideout Marquise Goodwin, tight end George Kittle and receiver Dante Pettis, but none have the talent of Brown. If they feel like Rice can help keep Brown in check, it's certainly an intriguing landing spot.
There were conflicting rumors about how interested the Packers were in Brown when he was originally on the block with Pittsburgh. The potential of adding him alongside Davante Adams for Aaron Rodgers is something that is normally reserved for either your fantasy team or Madden. In general, I don't like the fit for Brown in Green Bay, however. Rodgers seemingly has a solid cast of pass catchers around him, now has a defense that can keep them in games and adding this potential piece of drama into a locker room may be the worst thing for first-year head coach Matt LaFleur.
This is another obvious team when you start thinking about a new home for Brown. He already has a relationship with rookie quarterback Kyler Murray and it would be extremely interesting to see how he'd fit in Kliff Kingsbury's high-flying offense. That said, he may not be the type of figure to add to a team that has a first-year head coach and a No. 1 overall pick they are trying to mold into a franchise quarterback. It's possible having the likes of Larry Fitzgerald could help cultivate Brown's talents, but that's asking a lot from the Cards legend. They are also pretty set at receiver with Fitz, Christian Kirk, Michael Crabtree and second round rookie Andy Isabella.
After losing Doug Baldwin to retirement and veteran David Moore starting the season on IR, Seattle is a bit thin at the receiver position and is still looking for that big playmaker on offense. For Pete Carroll, he'd simply be hoping that Brown is that explosive piece he was in Pittsburgh and kept his off-field antics to a minimum in similar fashion to how the Seahawks were able to manage running back Marshawn Lynch.
Brown would fit well with Russell Wilson's style as the receiver did his best work in Pittsburgh when the play broke down and was able to run free. Outside of maybe Aaron Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes, no one is better in that situation than Wilson.
On a similar note to the Seahawks, the Ravens are looking for play-making talent at the receiver position. They currently have Willie Snead and Marquise Brown headlining the receiver unit, so they'd certainly welcome Brown's talent for second-year quarterback Lamar Jackson. Did we mention that Marquise "Hollywood" Brown is also AB's cousin?
New York's receiving unit fell apart a bit this summer with free agent acquisition Golden Tate being slapped with a four-game suspension and Sterling Shepard on the mend from a broken thumb that kept him out all of the preseason. Given that, they could be in the market for another pass catcher. Of course, the Giants did lose a big star in Odell Beckham Jr. this offseason, so AB would be a suitable replacement from a talent perspective. That said, do they really want another receiver who makes the type of headlines Brown does?
For a team that doesn't expect to win may games this season, Brown could be a reason for fans to stay tuned in this year. Whether or not Josh Rosen is the answer under center in South Beach or not, having Brown could be a buy-low option for the Dolphins with the best-case-scenario of him becoming a franchise cornerstone for their next wave. Don't hold your breath on that last point, however.
We have a better shot at the Rams heading back to St. Louis than seeing this reunion.
Here's who else I'd include that didn't make SportsLine's cut:
The Bills did try to trade for (and nearly landed) Brown prior to the receiver rejecting the idea of heading to upstate New York this offseason. Now that he's burned some more bridges in the league, this could be one of the only destinations left that will take him. That said, Buffalo does seem pretty pleased with the stable of pass catchers they've put together with Cole Beasley, Zay Jones and John Brown.
This is certainly the spiciest option of the bunch. If you're the XFL, what better way to reopen your league than by bringing in a talent and character like Antonio Brown? For Brown, I'm sure the XFL would pay him handsomely to be the face of their league. He could put "Boomin'" on the back of his jersey, somersault into the end zone and likely do whatever he wishes as long as he puts pen to paper to join the league. Deep down, this is what we all want to see happen.
Ranking Most Likely Landing Spots
- Baltimore Ravens
- Arizona Cardinals
- Seattle Seahawks
- New England Patriots
- Buffalo Bills
- San Francisco 49ers
- New York Giants
- Green Bay Packers
- Miami Dolphins
- Pittsburgh Steelers