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Antonio Brown Stands to Lose $30 Million for the Nutty He's Pulled

PFTIf the Raiders follow through on their reported plan to suspend receiver Antonio Brown, it could end up being extremely expensive for Brown — and it could give the Raiders significant flexibility during and after the coming season.

Brown’s new contract with the Raiders carries with it $30.125 million in fully-guaranteed money at signing. He already has earned a $1 million signing bonus. The other $29.125 million comes in the form of 2019 salary ($14.625 million) and 2020 salary ($14.5 million).

Assuming that a suspension would void the guarantees, the Raiders would be able to cut Brown at any point and owe him nothing further. They could even do it now, turning the Brown experiment into a $1 million mistake — along with the third-round and fifth-round pick they surrendered to the Steelers acquire him.

I’ll say this about Antonio Brown: I respect a man who’s willing to fight for a principle. Unless that principle is worth $30 million. I have way more respect for a man who’ll fight for the principle (plus interest) of 30 million in his savings accounts.

Bear in mind, this is all over a $50,000, collectively bargained fine after Mr. Big Chest skipped out of practices because he didn’t like the collectively bargained helmets. For the price of a decent luxury car, Brown is prepared to lose 600 times that.

I’m trying to put this into terms I can easily understand. So I’m going to eliminate about six zeros from the equation in order to relate to what’s at stake here. Let’s say one of my kids was still a server at the assisted living place they used to work after school. And let’s say he came to me and said “Dad, I’m having a problem with my manager. I didn’t like the apron they expect us to wear so I didn’t show up to work my shift. And she’s fining me 50 cents. So I think she hates me and I want to yell at her.” My question would be, “How much will it cost you if you tell her off?” And if the answer is (keeping the math proportionate) $3,000, I would advise against handling in that fashion. I would suggest he pay the 50 cents, suck it up, wear whatever the fuck they pay him to wear and keep his mouth shut. Or get a job somewhere else. But Antonio Brown, while he is a child, is not my child. So he never asked.

The thing is, I’d like to think that Mike Mayock and Jon Gruden don’t deserve this splitting, Big Gulp headache. But they exactly do. They spent two draft picks and a ton of money on a guy who had just quit on his last team. That’s what I like to refer to as a triumph of optimism over experience. Like when you move in with a girl who threatened all her last boyfriend’s female friends on  Facebook, cut up all his clothes and slashed his tires, don’t act shocked when you’re being defriended by everyone and have nothing to wear while you’re waiting for AAA to come tow you to the shop.

The Raiders have the right to react any way they want to Brown. With one exception. They can’t act surprised.

This is what you get when you sell your soul to an unstable crackpot in the hopes of getting Derek Carr a “weapon.” It’s trying to build your team like it’s Fantasy Football. Worse, it’s being ignorant of history, which is inexcusable when you’ve been around the league as long as Mayock and Gruden have. The recent history of the NFL, let’s call it the post-Jerry Rice era, is that big money, highly drafted wideouts almost never bring championships. There are rare exceptions, like Demaryius Thomas in Denver. But for the most part, Super Bowls are won by Julian Edelmans, Doug Baldwins and Victor Cruzes. While your AJ Greens, Calvin Johnsons and Odell Beckham Jrs end up as exciting players on inconsequential teams.

If Mayock and Gruden thought Brown’s 7 Catches and 86 Yards per Game were going to be worth the team-killing ragtime he brings with him, they have only themselves to blame. They both should’ve stayed in TV.