The agent for Antonio Brown called joining the New England Patriots an “amazing opportunity” for the star wide receiver and said his client’s goal going forward is to achieve something missing from his illustrious NFL career — a Super Bowl title.
In an interview on ESPN’s SportsCenter on Saturday night, hours after Brown’s tumultuous stint with the Raiders ended with his release, Drew Rosenhaus credited Oakland for how it handled the situation and said the agreed-to deal with the Patriots is the right fit now for his client.
“I’ll just tell you that the Patriots are obviously a very solid, strong organization,” said Rosenhaus, who also represented now-retired Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski. “They do things the Patriots Way. They expect everyone to be accountable. They don’t make any exceptions. I’ve discussed this with Antonio. And he wants to be a Patriot. He’s prepared to go there, fit in, work hard, be like every other player on the team, do what’s asked of him, do his job and make it work. He’s honored with the opportunity and he’s looking forward to taking advantage of it.”
Rosenhaus told ESPN’s Adam Schefter that New England is giving Brown a one-year deal worth up to $15 million. It includes a $9 million signing bonus, another $1 million guaranteed and $5 million in incentives.
The Patriots have yet to announce the move.
Rosenhaus said several teams were interested in signing Brown once he became eligible at 4:01 p.m. ET Saturday, including one unnamed organization that “was really aggressive” in addition to the Patriots. He said he spoke with coach Bill Belichick and others in the New England organization before the sides agreed to the deal.
“Antonio had a robust free-agent market and certainly had a lot of options,” Rosenhaus said. “But it was hard to compete with New England and that amazing opportunity, that great franchise, and play with one of the all-time greats, Tom Brady, and Bill Belichick.”
As for Brown’s short-lived stint with Oakland — one marked by issues with his feet and helmet and a heated confrontation with general manager Mike Mayock midweek that led to significant fines — Rosenhaus called it unfortunate, while crediting the Raiders, and specifically coach Jon Gruden, for how they handled it.
“You know there are trades that don’t pan out,” he told SportsCenter. “Relationships sometimes get off to a bad start and never recover. Unfortunately, this one just didn’t work. I don’t want the Raiders to get any flak for this because I just think it was a combination of bad luck and just bad circumstances.
“A lot of people focus on the last couple of months of dysfunction and things with Antonio. But what people should remember is that for eight years, he was one of the most rock-solid players in the league — on and off the field. I just don’t want people to lose track of that.”
Rosenhaus said Brown is 100 percent healthy after frostbite on the bottom of both his feet due to a cryotherapy mishap sidelined him at the beginning of training camp. He is not eligible to play in New England’s season opener Sunday night against his former team, the Pittsburgh Steelers, but could return in Week 2 against the Dolphins in Miami, where Brown is from.
Las Vegas took notice after news of the agreement broke. Caesars Sportsbook made New England the Super Bowl favorite at 4-1, ahead of the Kansas City Chiefs (6-1).
Rosenhaus said Brown is hoping his roller-coaster start to the 2019 season ends seamlessly with a ring.
“He wants to win a Super Bowl,” Rosenhaus told SportsCenter. “It’s a great opportunity for him to sign with a team that has dominated the football league for the past decade. It’s a dynasty. The future is now for Antonio. This is an opportunity for him to do something that he hasn’t been able to do in his illustrious career, which is win a championship. That’s what he’s looking forward to. That’s immediately the goal. That’s all he’s thinking about right now.”