When the Oakland Raiders traded for wide receiver Antonio Brown last March, there was optimism in the Bay Area that the former Pittsburgh Steelers star would channel Jerry Rice and produce in a major way. Ultimately, that was not the case as Brown never played a down for the Silver and Black. Now, this trade has been called the most "boneheaded" decision of the offseason.
In a recent article, Bleacher Report laid out what is viewed to be the worst decision of the offseason. The New York Giants were criticized for keeping head coach Pat Shurmur in town while the Pittsburgh Steelers were listed for the addition of wide receiver Donte Moncrief. The Raiders, however, only had one option in the eyes of B/R.
Interestingly enough, Brown's appearance on the list wasn't limited to the Silver and Black. The New England Patriots also received criticism for bringing the 31-year-old wide receiver to town following his release from Oakland.
The Raiders traded for the embattled wideout after it first seemed like he was headed for the Buffalo Bills. Oakland ended up sending a third and fifth-round pick to the Pittsburgh Steelers for Brown, and they signed him to a three-year, $50.125 million extension as well.
Brown was sidelined for much of the offseason with a mysterious foot injury, and he got into a confrontation with general manager Mike Mayock before publicly begging for his release. After the Raiders obliged, he promptly signed with the Patriots, but that proved to be short-lived as well.
The Raiders are still dealing with the ramifications of acquiring Brown. Not only did they lose assets, but they remain wrapped up in a grievance over their decision to void the guaranteed money on his contract.
With the picks acquired in the trade with Oakland, the Steelers selected Toledo wide receiver Dionte Johnson and Michigan tight end Zach Gentry. Johnson has been involved in the offense while catching 32 passes for 380 yards and three touchdowns. Gentry has been primarily limited to special teams while tallying one tackle.
The Raiders may not have entered the draft with those two picks, but general manager Mike Mayock still found the additions for this team that helped the Silver and Black reach 6-4. The Silver and Black are in contention for a playoff spot, as well as the AFC West division crown, which is largely owed to a rookie class that ranks first in multiple categories.
Losing draft picks was not ideal, but the Raiders are currently sitting in a spot where they haven't paid Brown a single dime of the contract that he signed. The receiver is seeking $40 million combined from his two most recent teams, but Oakland is making the argument that he gave up his money through a combination of missed practice time and conduct detrimental to the team.
There can certainly be an argument made about Brown's trade and how it didn't pan out as the Raiders expected, but head coach Jon Gruden and his team are no longer thinking about the previous offseason. With six games remaining on the schedule, Oakland is set up to secure a playoff spot and far surpass preseason expectations of a mere five wins.
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