OAKLAND, Calif. — The Raiders knew about the contract. They knew about the controversy. They took on both Saturday night, arranging a trade for wide receiver Antonio Brown.
The team will part with 2019 third- and fifth-round picks in the deal with the Pittsburgh Steelers, NFL Network reported. Pro Football Talk first reported his three-year, $50.125 million deal.
— Antonio Brown (@AB84) March 10, 2019
Brown previously was due to make $38.925 million in that span.
No trade can be processed until Wednesday’s start of the 2019 league year.
In some sense, Brown was first to announce the news. On Instagram, he posted an image of him photoshopped in a Raiders No. 84 jersey. He published a second image of him and quarterback Derek Carr at the Pro Bowl.
“Love at first sight,” Brown wrote in the caption.
Said Carr on Twitter: “Brother let’s get to work.”
Brother let's get to work! https://t.co/L2JwgKypoP
— Derek Carr (@derekcarrqb) March 10, 2019
The Raiders debated internally whether Brown — someone who skipped practices and a Week 17 game to end the 2018 season before publicly commenting that he didn’t need football while demanding a trade — was worth taking on.
But the team was serious about upgrading at wide receiver. In a weak free-agency class, it had concerns that its top target in free agency, Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Tyrell Williams, would be signable at a contract it considered amenable.
And so Brown, who became the first NFL player to post 100 receptions in six consecutive seasons, grew in attraction.
That his market shrunk to the extent the Raiders did not need to part with their three first-round picks and No. 35 overall choice in the second round only enhanced that.
Here we are.
Blond mustache, bravado and all, Brown is bound for Oakland and Las Vegas.
Despite this blockbuster move, the Raiders are not considered done at the position.
They planned to add a No. 1 wide receiver and quality slot receiver. Brown is the former. The latter is expected to come in the April 25 to 27 draft.