If you hid under a rock yesterday, you missed the Antonio Brown news. Or, the latest in the longest-running summer saga in the NFL to date. This afternoon, multiple sites reported that Antonio Brown and Mike Mayock engaged in a rather heated exchange, culminating in Brown threatening to punch his general manager. As of this writing, Antonio Brown’s status remains up in the air. The Raiders, via Mike Mayock issued a terse comment regarding the matter.
If you can answer that question, there are folks in Alameda, that want to talk to you. From day-to-day, Brown’s volatile nature seems to manifest itself in a whole host of ways. Granted, the helmet issue could be explained from a comfort level. On the other, catching passes on the side, seemed rather rational to most. Yet, Brown appeared to routinely poke the beat. To paraphrase Charlie Murphy, Antonio Brown is, on his best day, a habitual line-stepper. The Raiders, behind closed doors, must seethe with each passing incident.
If the reports hold water, Brown threatened to punch Mike Mayock in the face. After, he punted a ball and dared him to fine him for that. Now, punting the ball suggests the overall improved foot health. In all seriousness, who threatens to punch out a general manager? At what point must the Raiders examine Brown’s behavior and want to end the relationship.
By now, we all know that the Raiders owe Antonio Brown thirty million dollars in guaranteed cash. Now, Brown, by his own behavior is not helping his cause to keep that money. In theory, the Raiders could attempt to cut him without paying. Under the ” conduct detrimental to the team” thought, the team would claim that Brown’s behavior makes it impossible for a productive relationship to continue. As a result, Brown’s actions would serve as the root problem. If this happens, expect the ugliest, costliest, and most brutal legal fight that the league has seen in a while. Antonio Brown and Jon Gruden do not seem like the type of high-strung individuals to let anything ride.
In a weird way, Brown’s absence may not affect how the team relates. Since he didn’t take any preseason snaps or missed many practices, the short-term could benefit the Raiders. Without Brown around, the players can focus on the matter at hand. However, missing out on a Hall of Fame wideout will hurt this team. Although the team only surrendered a third and fifth rounder, Brown may never play a down.
In essence, the Oakland Raiders went all-in on Antonio Brown. Yet, to this point, he has not contributed. Time will tell, if this remains a blip or the end of his tenure.