What started out as speculation earlier today has turned into reality.
The deal was hinted at moments before Schefter reported it as well.
Brown was signed by the Raiders for close to $50 million but caused a ton of drama in the build-up to the new season. From getting frostbite on his feet in a cryotherapy mishap to sitting out of practice because of the helmet issue, Brown made more waves off the field than he did on it.
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Now, he joins an already loaded Patriots receiving corps on a one-year deal worth up to $15 million with a $9 million signing bonus, as NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport revealed.
Brown, now on his third team in a little under one year, fits into one of the league’s most dynamic offenses that already includes Josh Gordon, Demaryius Thomas and Julian Edelman at the receiver position.
While his time in Oakland was filled with tumult, it appears the receiver is already excited to be a member of the Patriots organization and immediately tweeted to confirm the deal himself.
What Number Will He Wear?
Antonio Brown has worn the number-84 jersey his entire NFL career, but it doesn’t appear he’ll be able to do so in New England at the outset. The number-84 jersey is occupied by Ben Watson, who started his career with the Patriots wearing that number.
Watson, however, is suspended for the first four games of the season. The veteran tight end has also worn the number-82 jersey at points in his career, a number currently left vacant with the team.
Brown wore No. 27 at Central Michigan, but that is not a valid wide receiver number for the NFL. It looks like he may be doling out some of that signing bonus to try and get 84 from Watson potentially.
Randy Moss 2.0?
The Patriots have taken chances on a ton of players who left their previous team in a controversial manner. Running back Corey Dillon is one that immediately springs to mind given his departure from Cincinnati after the 2003 season.
Randy Moss is another. Moss voiced his unhappiness with the Raiders after the 2006 season and then-coach Lane Kiffin looked for options to trade Moss. Eventually, a deal was put in place and the Patriots sacrificed just a fourth-round draft pick in 2007 to bring in the future Hall-of-Famer.
The rest was history that season as Brady and Moss set countless offensive records. Could that be the case with a player like Antonio Brown? New England has long been a destination where troubled players leave their attitude problems behind to focus on the common good of the team. That is Belichick’s overarching mission.
Now, Brown’s biggest challenge will be leaving his drama in the past to play for one of the NFL’s best coaches and quarterbacks. It worked with a guy like Randy Moss and now could be the same outcome for Brown.