Just imagine the possibilities: Odell Beckham, Jarvis Landry and … Antonio Brown.
The Cleveland Browns were one of the teams to call about Brown, according to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen. If John Dorsey was somehow able to bring Brown aboard, it would have given Cleveland and quarterback Baker Mayfield a spoil of riches in three perennial Pro Bowlers.
Signing with the Browns was likely appealing for Brown, allowing him to play against the Pittsburgh Steelers — his former team — twice per season in the AFC North.
However, catching balls from future Hall of Fame QB Tom Brady was just too much to pass up for AB.
“I’ll just tell you that the Patriots are obviously a very solid, strong organization,” said Rosenhaus told ESPN. “They do things the Patriots Way. They expect everyone to be accountable. They don’t make any exceptions. I’ve discussed this with Antonio. And he wants to be a Patriot. He’s prepared to go there, fit in, work hard, be like every other player on the team, do what’s asked of him, do his job and make it work. He’s honored with the opportunity and he’s looking forward to taking advantage of it.”
Antonio Brown: A Timeline of Events From Pittsburgh to New England
The New England Patriots scooped up Brown following his release, signing him to a one-year deal worth up $15 million. Brown will get a $9 million signing bonus with the team, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
But it wasn’t an easy decision to sign the seven-time Pro Bowl talent. The show he put on in Oakland was one for the ages. Here are some of the highlights.
- March 13: Brown was traded from the Steelers to the Raiders for draft picks. He quickly signed a three-year, $30.125 million extension.
- July 25: Brown shows up for training camp but can’t participate because he has frostbite on the bottom of both of his feet that was caused by cryotherapy.
- July 30: News surfaces about Brown’s problem with the NFL’s new helmet guidelines, leading to him filing a grievance he eventually loses. Reports surface that Brown would quit football if he doesn’t get his way.
- Aug. 18: The Raiders fine Brown for an unexpected absence. GM Mike Mayock says Brown has to be “all-in, or all-out” with the Raiders.
- Sept. 4: Brown gets on Instagram and speaks on the fines he received from the Raiders. At practice, he gets into a heated confrontation with Mayock, allegedly calling him a “cracker.”
- Sept. 5: Reports begin to surface that the Raiders are going to suspend Brown for Week 1. Mayock gives a very short statement, saying: “I don’t have any more information for you right now, and when I have some and it becomes appropriate, you guys all get it. I promise you. But that’s it for today.”
- Sept. 6: Brown returns to the Raiders facility, gives a tearful apology to his teammates and all seems back on track for him to play in Week 1. However, that night Brown posts a dramatic video of his phone call with head coach Jon Gruden.
- Sept 7: The Raiders fine Brown more than $215,000 for conduct detrimental to the team. With the move, ESPN reported that the Raiders voided Brown’s $29.125 million worth of guaranteed money. Brown says there is “no way” he plays after losing the guarantees. Brown asks for his release via Instagram and is shortly granted his wish. Quickly after, the Patriots sign Brown to a one-year deal worth up $15 million with a $9 million signing bonus.
Beckham has been on his best behavior since arriving in Cleveland, but a locker room that featured OBJ and AB might have been a little too much for the football world.
Antonio Brown: Stats & Expectations With Patriots
Brown won’t be able to suit up this week for the Patriots against — appropriately — the Steelers. His first game will likely be in Week 2 against the lowly Miami Dolphins.
His addition to the Patriots makes them the prohibitive favorite in the AFC and the Browns will likely have to go through them if they want to go to the Super Bowl.
When Brown does get on the field, he joins a wide receiver corps that includes Julian Edelman and Josh Gordon, among others.
In his nine-year career, Brown has collected 11,207 yards and 74 touchdowns.
Brown has totaled over 1,250 yards and 100 catches in each of his last six seasons. He has had double-digit touchdowns in all but two of those years.