The NFL was hit with a bombshell on Saturday afternoon with the report that wide receiver Antonio Brown would be signing a deal with the New England Patriots. The dynamic wide receiver was released early Saturday morning after recording a phone call with Oakland Raiders coach, Jon Gruden, and insulting Raiders General Manager, Mike Mayock.
What are the Patriots getting?
If the Patriots get a locked in, disciplined Brown, then they will be getting, arguably, the best wide receiver in the NFL. Last season, Brown had 1,297 receiving yards and a career high 15 touchdown receptions. Even if Brown behaves and performs well though, it is unlikely that he will have as good a season as he has had in years past due to the Patriots' already impressive wide receiver corp. However, having Brown on top of his game will almost guarantee the Patriots a trip to Super Bowl 54.
If the Patriots get the same Brown as the Raiders did, however, then the consequences could be severe. Many have said that if Brown does not work out for the Patriots, then they will just cut him. But will they though? By cutting Brown, the Patriots would be losing $9 million off their cap that they guaranteed in Brown’s contract. So, by cutting him, the Patriots would be mismanaging a valuable asset and we all know Bill Belichick hates that.
Well how much could he hurt the team if they do not cut him? Well first of all, he could be a nuisance to the entire organization if he does not get what he wants. Brown is set to make more money than key Patriots players like Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski ever did, and he has yet to contribute anything to the Patriots organization; this could lead to another problem. So if things go wrong with Brown, it could get a bit bumpy down in Foxborough.
How does the addition of Brown effect the roster going forward?
Despite the Demaryius Thomas trade, the Patriots will still have a total of six healthy wide receivers on the roster, and as they become healthy enough to play, the Patriots will add N’Keal Harry and Cameron Meredith to their receiver corp as well. So, something has to give at wide receiver. N’Keal will likely be guaranteed a roster spot when he returns after week eight, so you will be looking at at least seven, maybe eight wide receivers. Meredith seems to be the odd man out, as he is the only receiver on the roster that has not actually played this year. After Meredith, if they decide to cut another receiver, Gunner Olszewski might be out due to the fact that he is only used on special teams.