Here’s the least surprising news involving the entire Antonio Brown saga, which should officially come to an end tomorrow: being the highest-paid wide receiver in the NFL was very important to the former soon-to-be Pittsburgh Steelers All-Pro.
Brown’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, spoke to Rich Eisen recently to discuss the trade that he helped iron out with his client to send him to the Oakland Raiders, a deal a part of which was to renegotiate his contract to include both a pay raise and the guaranteeing of the majority of his contract.
With Brown having three years left on his deal, he had just under $39 million in total cash left on the books for 2019-2021. According to reports, the Raiders upped that to $50.125 million, making $30 million of that guaranteed. He went from averaging $17 million per season to just under $20 million over the total life of the four-year extension.
Rosenhaus that the trade status reached a point on Friday in which the Steelers and Raiders had agreed to a level of compensation between the two parties, whereafter it was turned over to himself and his client to negotiate with Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock to alter his contract.
“They knew, like every other team in the league, that we sought a revised contract”, Rosenhaus told Eisen. “We wanted to make sure that Antonio, for the rest of his contract, would be the highest paid receiver in the league and that that was something that needed to be addressed”.
While he acknowledged later in the interview that the previous extension he already signed a couple of years ago had made him the highest-paid wide receiver at the time, he also said that his client had continued to outplay his contract. And also implied that if he were not paid accordingly, problems would persist.
He wanted to make sure Brown retained his status in the salary hierarchy, “otherwise they would inherit some of the issues that we had with some of the other teams”, the agent said. “So that’s when negotiations began and Mike Mayock did a heck of a job. He was really a good negotiator and after a lot of discussion and back and forth, we’re able to agree on a number very early on Sunday morning”.
Basically, he admits that salary was one of the critical elements of Brown’s desire to leave Pittsburgh, and perhaps even the driving force. And if he were not able to receive a pay raise, then issues would persist. Everyone thought Brown demanded to be fed footballs; turns out, he just wants the largest shovel for all the money.
Frankly, when Rosenhaus speaks about the Raiders and Derek Carr, his remarks come across as dispassionate, paying lip service to the idea that his client actually has to play football rather than merely receive money. While I don’t believe that Brown has lost his passion for the game (my previous remark notwithstanding), he hasn’t made it easy to retain that belief.