The Antonio Brown saga is finally nearing a close. Sources say the #Steelers are dealing AB to the #Raiders in exchange for a third round pick and a fifth round pick in this 2019 draft. Brown will also get a reworked contract that makes him the NFL’s highest paid WR.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 10, 2019
We finally get an end to the Antonio Brown saga, and it’s hard to argue that Oakland didn’t get a steal in terms of what they gave up. You can argue that the re-worked contract could ultimately haunt them, but at 31-years old Brown is among the elite receivers in the game (and should remain as such for the next few seasons). After rumors of the cost being a first round draft pick, only having to part with a third and fifth round pick is a bargain (and it also allows Oakland to retain it’s three first round picks to further look to bolster the roster, one of which they acquired for Amari Cooper, who is clearly the inferior player).
As for what this means for Brown and his fantasy value there’s little doubt that he’s going to see a downgrade. Any time you go from Ben Roethlisberger to Derek Carr, that’s going to be obvious. At the same time, while Brown saw ample volume in Pittsburgh it’s easy to argue that he stands virtually alone in Oakland’s offense (at least currently) and therefore the drop-off may not be too great..
The offseason has yet to get started, at least “officially”, but outside of TE Jared Cook who else does Oakland have?
Maybe they bring in a running back, but does any of last year’s group of Doug Martin, Marshawn Lynch or Jalen Richard inspire much confidence?
While you may want to blame Carr for the lack of receiving numbers, the talent is questionable as well. Just look at the stats:
- Jared Cook – 68 receptions, 896 yards, 6 TD
- Jalen Richard – 68 receptions, 607 yards, 0 TD
- Jordy Nelson – 63 receptions, 739 yards, 3 TD
- Seth Roberts – 45 receptions, 494 yards, 2 TD
- Martavis Bryant – 19 receptions, 266 yards, 0 TD
Worse quarterback play or not, Brown should be able to more than make up for it based on opportunity alone. Will he get to 100 receptions (he has six straight 100+ catch seasons)? Maybe not, though 85+ should be a given and 100 isn’t out of the question.
Will he reach 1,200+ yards (he’s had at least 1,284 yards for six straight seasons)? That too is not impossible, and 1,000 should be a lock.
Downgrade or not the stats are going to be there, as long as Brown doesn’t mail it in now that he has the contract he wanted. That could be a risk, but at least in Year 1 we’d expect him to be motivated. It will be interesting to see how the rest of the offseason unfolds for Oakland (and how Pittsburgh will look to supplement it’s receiving corps), but regardless Brown will remain a volume monster and one of the elite in the game.
Sources – NFL.com, ESPN