At his best, Trent Brown dominates as an offensive tackle. Unfortunately, less than half of Brown’s two years with the Raiders saw him at his best. Whether it be the constant nagging injuries strangely resurfacing at the worst possible moments or new ones popping up, Brown struggled to stay healthy.
At his worst, Brown had his commitment and effort levels questioned frequently, and rightfully so. The year before he joined the Raiders, Brown played all 16 of the New England Patriots regular-season games and played on 97% of the snaps. Coincidentally, the year Brown joined the Raiders was the first year of his rookie contract, with his salary growing from $1.9 million in 2018 to $5 million in 2019 to $21.25 million this last season.
It is difficult to come after a player for chasing money, but playing all 16 games in a contract year followed by playing 16 of the available 32 games over the next two years can make it a bit easier. So Brown may have given the Raiders team and front office the runaround, but at least he is now off the books and someone else’s problem right? Negative. The Raiders would trade Brown (and a seventh-round pick) to the New England Patriots (his former team) in exchange for a fifth-round pick. Make this make sense:
A Star Is Born
In 2018, Trent Brown breaks out as a star with the New England Patriots. As a star, Brown requires more money, something the Patriots are not in a position to do. He leaves New England for the Raiders (read: Raiders’ money) and signs a lucrative, heavily back-ended contract as he has reached that level of stardom. Two lackadaisical, half-worked seasons with the Raiders later, and the “star” the Raiders signed in 2019 is now not worth a standalone fifth-round pick. Trent Brown was due to make quite an impressive amount of money over the next two seasons with the Raiders, but restructured his contract upon his arrival in New England, meaning Las Vegas did not accept such a horribly one-sided trade because of money.
Even if they had accepted worse terms because of cap space, it is still a rough look. Will the Seahawks trade Russell Wilson for a fifth-rounder and give up a seventh-round pick because of the size of his contract? Absolutely not. Seattle will move Wilson for a king’s ransom. If their asking price is not reached, Wilson will not leave. The Raiders paid Brown to be a star but traded him like a box of rocks.
Sure, Brown probably did not give his full effort during his time with the Raiders. Yet, that does not mean the Patriots do not know what they are getting. He did have his breakout year in New England after all. So, the Patriots are aware of Brown’s talent. Additionally, they possess the ability to rework his contract. Once again, the Raiders got fleeced solely in the name of getting fleeced. But hey, at least they have that cap space!