The Raiders are trying to get better, and strict compliance with the plain language of all rules may take a back seat to that goal.
The evidence first emerged on Monday, when the Raiders somehow negotiated a four-year, $66 million deal with Patriots tackle Trent Brown in a matter of minutes. Unless Brown pounced on an opening offer faster than Kramer negotiating a hot coffee settlement, the Raiders were talking to Brown’s agents before the window for permissible negotiating opened.
On Tuesday came Antonio Brown‘s claim on social media that he would be visiting the facility to meet coaches and work out with Derek Carr (they eventually worked out away from Raiders property), which seemed to violate the narrow permission that the Raiders had received from the Steelers to conduct a pre-trade physical.
During Antonio Brown’s introductory press conference on Wednesday, another curiosity emerged. Brown and Gruden had a pre-trade film session.
“Jon had 400 clips of Antonio in the office,” G.M. Mike Mayock said. “I walked in this morning, the two of them were sitting in there like little kids watching 400 cutups of Antonio. Everything he did. Everything. I mean, they were like little kids in a laboratory.”
While the Steelers continue to have no comment on Brown’s interactions with the Raiders before Brown officially became a member of the Raiders, it continues to be our understanding that the Steelers allowed the Raiders only to conduct a physical of Brown. The NFL also has no comment on whether the Raiders violated any rules by using the hours before the trade became official as an opportunities to do something that Gruden simply couldn’t do before the start of the offseason with any player: Sit in an office and study film.