The next time Jon Gruden sees Kevin Colbert’s number on his phone, he’s hanging up immediately. We haven’t played a single game of the 2019 season yet, and the Oakland Raiders are already experiencing buyer’s remorse. Once again the Raiders are sitting on a former Steelers receiver wondering what in the world they’ve got themselves into. At the time, I’m sure they thought they were getting the best of the deal. Only giving up a third and fifth round pick for the best wide receiver in football? What a bargain right? New Oakland general manager Mike Mayock must have thought he played it perfectly. He waited in the weeds for the Steelers to get desperate, then pounced.
The press conference to introduce Antonio Brown to Raider Nation went off without a hitch (well, except for the fact where he kept everyone waiting 30 minutes while he was at the barber). Oakland trotted out a cleaned up AB for everyone to see. No more blonde mustache. No more crazy social media rants. No more multi-colored dreads, just a player saying all the right things.
When Antonio Brown showed up at that press conference looking like he did, it was like we had the wool pulled over our eyes. Where was the circus? Where was the crazy flamboyant AB we had seen for the past few months? And then it set in. This was all a show. A ploy to force the Steelers to trade him. Not only trade him, but trade him where he wanted to go AND get a new contract. It was all a diabolical plan by the sinister super-agent Drew Rosanhaus. He out maneuvered Kevin Colbert and got his client everything he wanted. Now the Raiders had an All-Pro receiver, and paid pennies on the dollar to get him. The Steelers were the big loser……..or were they? It only took a few weeks, and then this happened:
It didn’t take long for before the real AB reared his ugly head again. The truth is Antonio Brown has many issues, and an unchecked ego is one of them. He is so still deeply bothered that Ju Ju Smith-Schuster won the team MVP, he can’t help but lash out whenever it’s brought up. Brown even went as far as posting a private message Ju Ju had sent him while he was at USC, asking the star receiver for career advice. It was a move to make Ju Ju look bad, but it predictably backfired. Taking shots at former teammates is the least of the concerns when it comes to Antonio Brown however. Let’s not forget the multitude of incidents he had last offseason. Those incidents include threatening two separate media members, and throwing furniture from a balcony. As if all this weren’t bad enough, “Mr. Big Chest” has now announced his own You Tube channel is about to kick off. What could possibly go wrong?
At this point, Mike Mayock and the rest of the Raiders brass have to now be thinking they might be the ones who got had. The actual genius of Drew Rosenhaus wasn’t that he manipulated the Steelers, it was that he managed to keep AB off the ledge just long enough to pull everything off. Rosenhaus could see the writing on the wall. The Steelers were never going to give him a new contract, and time was ticking before Brown did something serious. If he was going to cash in on AB one more time, they had to do something drastic. And so they did. He got Brown to act crazy enough to get out of Pittsburgh, but not so crazy that he couldn’t get a new deal elsewhere. Now Rosenhaus has his money, and the Raiders are left to deal with Antonio Brown and his guaranteed contract.
When looking back at this saga, it’s clear the Steelers were a bit fortunate here. This loyal franchise undoubtedly would have stuck with Brown to the bitter end if he hadn’t forced their hand. Sure the Steelers didn’t get full value for one of the best receivers of all time, but in the end he did them a favor. One more year like the one Antonio Brown had last season, and they’d be lucky to get anything at all. That third and fifth round pick is starting to look like a steal for Pittsburgh. AB is the Raiders problem now. And what a problem he’s going to be.