Randy Moss: Elite players can get paid by learning from Antonio Brown

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After seeing Antonio Brown force his way out of Pittsburgh and get a pay raise in Oakland, will other top players try to do the same thing? One Hall of Fame receiver thinks they might.

Randy Moss said on ESPN that he believes great players should note what Brown did, how he came out ahead financially, and consider whether they’re in a position that they could do the same thing.

“I would tell you this: If you are an elite player in the National Football League, then I think yes, this is the approach, this is a page you can take out of Antonio Brown’s book,” Moss said. “Stay aggressive, be aggressive.”

Moss cautioned, however, that the majority of players can’t do what Brown did, and he said if players overestimate their importance to a team, they may find themselves out of the league entirely if they try to play hardball with an NFL owner.

“If you’re a guy just trying to get a little contract, just to remain on the team, don’t you take Antonio Brown’s approach because you might find yourself at home,” Moss said. “So this approach is not for everyone, but it’s an aggressive approach only for the elite.”

Moss is right: When you act the way Antonio Brown acted, you get labeled a locker room distraction. If you’re as great a player as Brown, you can find a team willing to tolerate the distractions. If you’re a mediocre player, you’ll find yourself replaced by another player who’s willing to play for the same amount of money, and not cause your team any headaches.

90 responses to “Randy Moss: Elite players can get paid by learning from Antonio Brown

  1. Interesting that Moss is speaking out on Antonio Brown because the way I see it the Raiders’ trade for Brown will be just as bad as the one they made for Moss 14 years ago. Of course Gruden has already destroyed a once-promising Raiders team to such an extent that adding another cancer like Moss & Lynch won’t make things that much worse.

  2. Funny how it can only take a season to go from “elite” to a cap casualty if your level of play doesn’t stay elite. Sometimes staying humble and a team asset is more effective than this sort of power play.

    Turnabout is fair play, if elite players can pull these moves and alienate the fan base that supported/built them, then I won’t shed one tear when it backfires on them.

  3. This forces a new contract structure on the NFL.
    There is no way for a team to penalize a player who doesn’t try, other than cutting them, which they want because they pocketed a large signing bonus (Antonio Brown, Albert Haynesworth).

    Gone are the 5 year contracts, now everything is a 3 year contract.
    Gone are the large signing bonuses, instead the contract will have a certain amount guaranteed, such as the first year. Or maybe a little of the 2nd or third, which is voided if a player plays for another team. This is to prevent a situation where a player is cut and the new team give him a low first year salary and high second year salary, so he can double dip.

    This is essentially a race to the bottom and spoils things for the hard-working players.

  4. Yeah, and I bet the owners start locking players out then. Those billionaires don’t rely on their teams to generate their personal income. The players on the other hand rely on the billionaires to cut checks. Bet you those AAF guys would gladly take your spots.

  5. And don’t forget, this might get you paid, but the second your no longer elect you’ll be right out the door. Just ask Owens.

  6. I’m all for non qb’s getting paid, mediocre QBs make too much money imo. I see it big ways for the player who signs a long term deal by the time they hit they are usually underpaid for a couple seasons. However, when you take a deal honor it. If you are worried about another guy making life than sign a shorter deal and take another bite at the Apple. If a team is unwilling to do a short term deem, put in pro visions that if another player gets a better deal your deal escalated above that players. I doubt that would happen because of cap management and would he difficult to juggle.

    Running backs should only be allowed to be franchised if they consent as there careers are short. Hopefully bells deal will reset the market for truly elite backs and they can start to get some respect again. No position is manipulated and taken advantage of more than the running back. I applaud Bell for hanging tough and believing in what he felt was right and taking a big risk by sitting out. Now the world is gonna see him get paid and he does deserve it. He was a boneheaded in the beginning if his career but he has really been a workhorse for the Steelers.

    Brown on the other hand, I’m happy he got paid bit the way he went about it was wrong. He signed the deal and Pitt gave him a bunch of lineup up front, but honor what you sign.

  7. This will end up changing the approach to contracts. This will reverse the upfront money trend and move towards more guaranteed years. This will reduce the dead money teams have on the books when a players pulls a Brown.

  8. If I were the Steelers, AB would have been told to either play for us or sit. They got next to nothing for him, and are stuck with a 22 Million Dead Money Hit to their cap. No Way I would have taken that. The Steelers failed on this one.

  9. It will be interesting though if this makes owners re-consider large upfront bonuses. Owners might start saying lets do contracts where you get paid a large yearly salary instead of the upfront money. Then, when a player demands a change the team won’t get stuck with a large ‘dead money’ hit.

  10. He was elite in Pittsburgh… But… We’ll see if that remains the case. Let’s not kid ourselves, he just took a huge step backward in regard to QB play, AND offensive line play. Those two factors are CRITICAL to a WR’s success – especially a WR who likes to go deep. I’m not saying he’s not elite, I’m just saying it’s no guarantee that he’s gonna go to Oakland and lead the league in catches, or yards, or TD’s… or anything for that matter.

  11. Good. Elite players need to stop being cowed by teams and fans. Use every leverage at your disposal to get what you want. When Darrell Revis was playing hardball with teams as hard as teams played with players all these fans were crying about it. Same thing with Le’Veon Bell and same thing with Antonio. This is a business first before anything despite the romanticism fans place on team and thinking every player should give up some of their value for team. Except I’ve never seen fans apply that to owners who locked out players last CBA negotiations not because they were losing money but because they just signed a massive tv deal and wanted an even bigger percentage of the pie. And fans still blamed the players for the work stoppage! Every player should ignore the fans and go get theirs if they have the leverage.

  12. not much difference between what Antonio Brown did than what Khalil Mack did, to what Leveon Bell did.

  13. This is how life works. Especially in the social media age. The noisier you are, the more noticed you get. Fair or unfair. If you toot your own horn loud enough, someone’s ready to buy.

  14. joetoronto says:
    March 11, 2019 at 11:07 am
    Only a 3rd and a 5th for Antonio Brown, wow.


    Yeah but let’s be honest…..AB has had Ben throwing to him. He is in for a harsh reality with Derek Carr at the helm

  15. red says:
    March 11, 2019 at 10:59 am
    this sets a dangerous precedent


    For goodness sake, there is no need for hyperbole. Dangerous precedent? Is someone going to die as a result?

    What will be the outcome of Antonio Brown exiting the Steelers? He will play for the Raiders in 2019 and not for the Steelers. There have been players who held out, forced trades, etc for the past 25 years under the current free agency system. Sean Gilbert, Darrelle Revis, Vincent Jackson, Mike Wallace, etc.

    There’s nothing new or special about a star player not being happy and forcing himself off a team.

  16. A Kaepernick lesson in all of this, and exactly the reason he doesn’t have a job. He’s not worth the headaches he brings.

  17. If I were the Steelers, AB would have been told to either play for us or sit. They got next to nothing for him, and are stuck with a 22 Million Dead Money Hit to their cap. No Way I would have taken that. The Steelers failed on this one.

    Pride is a thing that can be over rated in business. I don’t see how nothing in return for AB is better than something….that’s just dumb.

  18. Yeah, and teams can learn by following the Patriot’s example who shipped you out of town when you pulled your infamous podium stunt.

    The key is to do it before the player becomes a problem and lowers his own value. The Steelers would have gotten much more for him if they traded him at the first signs of trouble.

  19. @Lockport Lax

    Most teams do that. They generally spread guaranteed money out over 3 years or more. The Steelers are unique in that they put all of the guaranteed money upfront, which causes players to then gripe that “they can be cut at any time and get nothing.” They want that upfront money, but they also want that sure money every year.

  20. Teams can easily move forward from one elite player.

    Look at all the receivers Colbert has drafted: Mike Wallace, Emmanuel Sanders, Brown, Martavis Bryant and Smith-Schuster, all outside the Top 60 picks. And how did Steelers replace Bell? With a mid round pick in Conner that gave the exact same production.

  21. Everything is working according to the Chuckie plan, he has brought in AB to destroy what is left of the fragile-minded Carr, so that whatever is left of the Raider Faithful will be begging him to get rid of Carr after 2019 season. BooooHaaaaaHaaaaaHaaaaa!!!

  22. As a Steelers fan, I’m not happy with the way my team handled this situation going back to Brown’s multiple 15-yard penalties for his self-aggrandizing TD celebrations. Maybe if he’d been benched for a half then, the team wouldn’t now be carrying a big cap hit and getting only a third- and fifth-round pick in return for a top-three receiver. But for all the criticism thrown at Roethlisberger and Tomlin, both are Super Bowl winners. Bell and Brown, not so much. Bell’s contract was up; that’s a different story. But Brown’s contract had three years to run. Will teams choose to help players make voiding their contracts the new normal? That will depend largely on how successful Brown is in Oakland.

  23. Knew this was coming the minute the Steelers let Brown get what he wanted. In their defense, and under the current CBA rules, they had their backs to the wall. Keep a problem, and most likely ruin 2019 before it starts, or get whatever you can get for him. All the players contemplating pulling an AB, better do it before the 2021 CBA. Further, they better save their money, I expect we will see a nice long lockout.

    I really couldn’t care less about him wanting out of Pittsburgh, but he could have handled it a lot differently, and accomplished the same thing. Instead, he took the gutter route. So, in essence, he received another reward, from the Steelers (and Raiders, to some degree), for bad behavior, on his way out of town. Go figure, is anyone surprised?

    The idiom, “this is not father’s (insert) Steelers” truly applies. To say that most Steelers fans are extremely disappointed in ownership/management is a huge understatement.

  24. The overwhelming majority of NFL fans earn 100k or less yearly….the fans are the golden geese here…how are we supposed to feel about this whole entitled mess??…NFL….if we leave, we ain’t comin’ back! Get hold of this….

  25. Like it or not. Get use to it. The players are going to flex whatever power they have to get what they want. Not to say it’s right but, the NBA players started it and the NFL players have are going to start doing same.

  26. Antonio Brown was a unique situation. Elite player, but Pittsburgh just had it’s go round with LeVeon Bell and they were not ready to go through another season long hold out / drama session. This may not work for other Elite players in other cities.

  27. Worked out well for Le’Veon Bell.
    But unfortunately there’s always at least 1 dumb GM who will give up the farm. Disappointing really

  28. I feel like they fail to mention that this may cause teams to stop front loading contracts. As is the Steelers have done opposed to long term guarantees.. he pretends he had a bad contract because of the remaining annual salary, but his first year was far beyond the market for WRs. Moral of the story dont give your problem children large upfront payments that cant be retrieved, Steelers now have 22m in dead cap space because of it.

  29. For elitists only, or for self centered, egotistical , and non team players. Thankfully, you represent just a small percentage of NFL players. Also, a big problem with this elite process is you will have players who have a high opinion of themselves(but are non elite) trying to replicate the actions of AB and they will be sent packing!

  30. The league is better off without malcontents like Brown and Moss. The NFL somehow owes something to these self-centered, me-first, prima donna’s? Please.

  31. Kcflake, you are half right, they got next to nothing for him. They were stuck with a giant cap hit for him regardless what they did tho. If he played, I don’t think he would’ve been giving 100% and that would cause issues in the locker room. If they sat him, they would be paying him to do nothing and receive worse than next to nothing for him, this too would cause locker room issues. By trading him you have a chance to find a couple young guys to help the team and not have a locker room issue.

  32. Only in football are you expected to be more loyal to the team than you are to yourself. The best wideout in the game had no guaranteed money left on his deal and that’s not to be seen as a problem. Hopefully, people teach their kids to know their worth and never sacrifice your true value for a system that could chew you up and spit you out.

  33. This is one fine case study for the millennial generation next to participation trophies, mindless protests, and always getting your way no matter what. Just because a player can sit out or cause a distraction to one’s own team, that doesn’t mean they should. There needs to be a clause in the next CBA to prevent something like this from ever happening again. Even star quarterbacks shouldn’t have this much leverage. What’s going to happen if all the elite quarterbacks on the top teams sit out for more money?

  34. SWFLPC.INC says:
    March 11, 2019 at 11:30 am
    @joetoronto says:
    March 11, 2019 at 11:07 am

    Yeah but let’s be honest…..AB has had Ben throwing to him. He is in for a harsh reality with Derek Carr at the helm
    And if Carr goes down…it will be McCarron and Peterman…yes, Nathan Peterman!

  35. Funny stuff…because, you know, the owners won’t adjust to it. Brown benefited from Leveon Bell’s situation. If his situation had not followed on the heels of Bell he would be Bell and Bell missed an entire year of money. It is still not a certainty what he will get paid. RB is a devalued position. Any player who sits out a year without getting paid, elite or not, runs a huge risk.

  36. Don’t see this as a league wide trend. This was a Pittsburgh thing.
    They were concerned about Tomlin and Ben losing the locker room, about having to make a coaching change.
    The Steelers are obsessed with their iconic continuity. Many other teams would have played hardball with a guy like Brown.

  37. Not every team has a fully guaranteed Jay Gruden going wild with their roster. I doubt this ever works again, especially on another team.

  38. “this sets a dangerous precedent”

    Players getting their market value? Say it ain’t so, comrade!

  39. I’m not certain that AB’s success in trashing his way out of Pittsburgh will provide a business model for other players. We’ll never know for certain but I believe that if it had not been for the media circus that surrounded Bell’s “will he or won’t he” hold-out last season, the Steelers would have taken a harder line with Brown. In an isolated incident, I doubt another team will capitulate to a contracted player’s trade demand so quickly.

  40. Pittsburgh should’ve called his retirement bluff.
    He was under contract for 3 more seasons…
    Hard to understand the lack of gumption by the Steelers front office

  41. Simple. Carr puts fifteen catchable balls a game to Brown and all will be well. Otherwise, Keyshawn will be a fond memory for Gruden.

  42. So is he saying that every good player should infight with their QB so the team has no other choice to get rid of him?

  43. kevines255 says:
    March 11, 2019 at 11:35 am
    @Lockport Lax

    Most teams do that. They generally spread guaranteed money out over 3 years or more. The Steelers are unique in that they put all of the guaranteed money upfront, which causes players to then gripe that “they can be cut at any time and get nothing.” They want that upfront money, but they also want that sure money every year.

    Wrong again. The Steelers are unique in that they only gaurantee the sign on bonus while other teams gaurantee the bonus and additional 2-3 years. This is why the gauranteed value of star players contracts signed with the Steelers are consistently lower than those of comparable players around the league. This also why Le’veon Bell turned down a supposedly $70 million contract from the Steelers. The total full gaurantees at signing was $17 million.

  44. AB went about this in a really terrible way. He burned his bridge to Pittsburgh when that really wasn’t necessary.

    I can understand the frustration many players face. Teams sign players to contracts constantly that they have no intention of honoring. It’s funny money. It’s all stuff to look good in the papers so that the agent can drum up more business.

    If the players were smart they’d try to push for more guaranteed money in the next CBA and make the pretend contracts illegal. I’m not really sure that AB has set a new precedent, because most players don’t have the talent to use for this kind of leverage.

    It will be interesting to see how Bell does. My guess is that he gets less than he hoped for, and he’ll never make up the $14 million he left on the table last year. He’s good, but who will pay a RB the kind of money he probably wants?

  45. I never saw this kind of thing so bad in the Pittsburgh organization and the NFL, too really. Is society’s crumbling mores trickling down to our former heroes? There’s no honor in this sport anymore. The Chief would have handled this differently. So would have Chuck Noll. Gotta have discipline.

  46. steelcurtainn says: “Actually they can’t, just don’t take the Steelers approach. They should of stayed firm and taught this guy a lesson.”

    No, the Steelers approach is just fine. Get the deal done and move on. They’re here to try to win championships, not be the moral crusaders you think they should be.

  47. Me first is the only way it should be. Your family is forever. Take care of them first. This is a business, and I’m glad players are starting to understand that.

  48. @6thsense10

    I don’t believe the Steelers are “unique” in the way they structure their contracts. Pretty sure the best QB in the league, Tom Brady’s contract is pretty similar in structure to the one Brown had recently signed. NE fans can correct me if I’m wrong. In both deals, the signing bonus was the only guaranteed money.

  49. No, what’s going to happen is the owners who actually don’t have to employ these “elite players” on their payrolls and make them millionaires will just let the disruptive ones go and encourage other owners to NOT employ them. then where will these players be? they’re all replaceable

  50. Replace them with what? The players in the AAF? Good luck getting people to support that product.Glad the players are beginning to understand how valuable they are, especially the elite ones. From homeless in Liberty City to $30 million guaranteed. What an incredible story.Hard work

  51. Everyone is saying Moss has no rings because of his attitude. He almost did. Remember the “Helmet Catch”?

  52. @ youngnoize They can and will be replaced by either younger players coming into the league through the draft or current players in the NFL and possibly the CFL and other outlets. sorry, but there’s just too many footballers out there for what Brown did to become the norm. and i get Brown’s hard luck story and rioad to the NFL is inspiring but how he’s behaving NOW is shocking… credibility gone

  53. well…good going steelers you have really opened up a can of worms by folding like a lawn chair. every union athlete and their mother now is going to begin to cry like babies until they get their way. this is equivalent to when bruce jenner came out that he’s turning into a woman. every trans came out of the woodwork…

  54. tcostant says:
    March 11, 2019 at 11:17 am
    And don’t forget, this might get you paid, but the second your no longer elect you’ll be right out the door. Just ask Owens.

    What are you talking about!? Owens played until he was 37, which is longer than 98% of WR’s to ply in the NFL

  55. Randy Moss tried something like this with the Patriots. It got him traded in a heartbeat, and he regretted it for the rest of his professional career. He then tried taking over the Vikings locker room. It got him cut. Moss and Owens make really lousy mentors.

  56. J Schwindt says:
    March 11, 2019 at 11:18 am

    This will end up changing the approach to contracts. This will reverse the upfront money trend and move towards more guaranteed years. This will reduce the dead money teams have on the books when a players pulls a Brown.

    It’s what the Raiders did with Trent Brown. Trent Brown’s guarantee is fulfilled after 2 years and he only got 10 million dollars upfront.
    I’m glad teams are changing salary bonus for guaranteed money. Smart business.

  57. Maybe but only until the teams start playing hardball like the Steelers should have done with AB.

  58. So is this collusion by the players to break a contract? Oh my. The bottom line is the teams hold the power. The players only get traded if the teams agree to do it. Try this crap with the Bengals and they will be sitting out for the rest of their life. A contract is a contract.

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