It starting to appear as though Antonio Brown is playing chess and not football. While AB put together a spectacle to get out of Oakland, there are growing suspicions that these antics were part of a larger, more calculated move.
When things started to go sour in Pittsburgh, Brown was determined to become a Patriot. According to ESPN's Adam Schefter and Mike Giardi of NFL Network, New England created a package that included sending a first-round pick to Pittsburgh for AB. The Steelers rejected this offer and elected to send AB to Oakland. While in Oakland, Brown went on a social media terror that included leaking a personal conversation with coach Jon Gurden to his official YouTube account. This resulted in AB being released from Oakland and picked up by the Patriots.
Per ESPN's Chris Mortensen, Brown got advice from social media consultants on ways to speed up his release.
"Antonio Brown, during the week, actually sought advice from social media consultants on how he can accelerate his release from the Raiders," Martensen explained. "This all started with him releasing the letter from [General Manager] Mike Mayock that he was being fined. He put that out on social media which led to the confrontation."
Per NBC Sports, a league source says that Brown uploading the letter from Mayock was the straw that broke the camel's back in Oakland. Martensen also mentioned that Brown's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, stated that there was a "robust" market for Brown. Both the Browns and the Seahawks had interest in AB before and during his dispute with the Raiders. Now, AB is on the team of his choice while the Patriots acquired an elite receiver at less of an assumed risk.
The only argument that contradicts this notion is the guaranteed money Brown left on the table. Instead of making close to $30 million with the Raiders, AB will only pull in a guaranteed $9 million as a member of the Patriots through a one year deal. This is a base salary for a player of his caliber. Leaving that much money in the can gives the impression that Brown might not have orchestrated his release.
Whatever the case may be, Brown is a Patriot now and is looking to settle into his new home by being in the box tonight with Patriots owner Robert Kraft for the Patriots-Steelers game.