The Oakland Raiders could release Antonio Brown before he ever plays a single game for the team.
As the Brown saga reached its worst point on Thursday following the star wide receiver’s altercation with team general manager Mike Mayock, Adam Schefter of ESPN is now reporting that not only is Brown facing a suspension — he could have his entire contract voided, along with the $30 million in guaranteed money that he’s due.
That would mean the end of his Raiders career — before it ever began.
Antonio Brown Posts Private Letter from Raiders on Instagram
Although Brown has been at the wrong end of headlines since the beginning of training camp, it reached its boiling point on early Thursday when Schefter reported that Brown got into a heated altercation with Mayock over the social media posting of a letter featuring his team-related fines.
The 31-year-old receiver posted a caption in response to Mayock’s letter that stated the following:
“WHEN YOUR OWN TEAM WANT TO HATE BUT THERE’S NO STOPPING ME NOW DEVIL IS A LIE. EVERYONE GOT TO PAY THIS YEAR SO WE CLEAR.”
Unsurprisingly, Mayock had a major problem with Brown posting a private team matter to his 3.4 million followers.
Making matters worse — which is what Brown seems to do best — he nearly got into a physical altercation with Mayock, even threatening to punch the general manager. He then concluded his outburst by punting a football in Mayock’s direction, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.
“More on #Raiders WR Antonio Brown and Mike Mayock yesterday: It did not get physical, sources say. But after a screaming match, Brown told Mayock that he would hit him in the face and then punted the ball… and said, Fine me for that.“
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How the Raiders Could Release Brown Without Paying Him
Mike Tannenbaum, who currently works at ESPN after serving as a general manager and NFL executive for a number of years with the New York Jets and Miami Dolphins, explained how the Raiders could get away with voiding Brown’s guarantees.
Keep in mind, that roughly half of Brown’s guaranteed money literally becomes guaranteed if he’s on the Raiders’ active roster during the season opener against the Denver Broncos on Monday night.
However, if he’s suspended before then, they could avoid paying him that guaranteed money.
Not only would Brown lose $30 million in guaranteed money, but he would also possibly lose his $1 million signing bonus.
This is clearly a situation that has reached it’s worst possible point. Through all of the nonsense of the helmet saga, the frostbite situation and the unneeded distractions of attacking former Pittsburgh Steelers teammates over social media, there was never even a thought the Raiders would move on from the Pro Bowl wide receiver.
Now, not only are they considering moving on from Brown, they’re thinking about doing so before he ever plays a single game for the franchise.
What a fall from grace for the highest-paid receiver in the league.