Antonio Brown’s next stop could be the New England Patriots, one NFL coach predicts.
With Brown now a free agent, there is rampant speculation about which team might be willing to take a chance on him. The New England Patriots were immediately pegged as a potential landing spot, as coach Bill Belichick has long had a penchant for buying low on players who are troubled with off-the-field issues.
As Pro Football Talk reported on Twitter, there is one unnamed NFL coach who believes that Belichick will take a flyer on Brown at a low cost, low risk price.
On Saturday, the Oakland Raiders fulfilled Brown’s request to release him from the team after a major fine wiped away all of the guaranteed money from his contract. As CBS Sports noted, Brown is not subject to waivers and will be a free agent as of 4:01 p.m. on Saturday. Though he will not be eligible to play on Sunday, he could be back for Week 2 if a team signs him right away, or Week 1 if it’s one of the four teams playing on Monday night, the report noted.
Brown’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, told Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network that they are already working on finding a new team.
“Now that Antonio is a free agent, we are focused on the future and I will immediately work on signing him to a new team. Antonio is looking forward to a new beginning,” Rosenhaus said.
Antonio Brown’s release comes after a wild week in which the wide receiver publicly blasted the team on Instagram, posting a letter from general manager Mike Mayock detailing more than $50,000 in fines Brown had accrued for missing offseason activities. This led to a verbal confrontation between Brown and Mayock, with Brown reportedly needing to be held back. Though there were reports that the Raiders were looking to suspend Brown or even void his contract, they ultimately announced that he would be back and playing in Week 1.
Text from NFL coach on whether Bill Belichick takes a low-risk flyer on Antonio Brown: “I bet he does.”— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) September 7, 2019
Brown ramped up the bizarre behavior from there, first posting a highly produced video of himself working out overlaid with what appeared to be a secretly recorded phone call with coach Jon Gruden, in which Gruden implored Brown to come back to the team.
On Saturday, Brown got even more direct, posting a message on Instagram asking for the team to release him. The Raiders obliged, and Brown will now be a free agent.
NFL procedures prevent Antonio Brown from joining a new team before Sunday's games -- but, in theory, he could play Monday night for the Texans, Saints, or Broncos https://t.co/c6rkyWkWzi— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) September 7, 2019
Though the New England Patriots have been mentioned as the team mostly likely to pick up Antonio Brown, there is not yet any indication whether the Patriots — or any other team, for that matter — has expressed interest in signing him.