Ever since the relationship between Antonio Brown and the Raiders entered its death spiral, league insiders and observers began to ask whether the Patriots would swoop in, if/when Brown is free to be signed by another team.
Per a league source, the Patriots should be regarded as a longshot, but not an impossibility. Although coach Bill Belichick, who has a friendship with Raiders G.M. Mike Mayock, may not be inclined to take a chance on Brown, Belichick could do it on his terms and his terms only, offering a minimum-salary deal with significant financial incentives.
Brown then would be on a one-strike arrangement, with any deviation from the team’s expectations (up to and including any postings of any kind on MyFace) getting Brown immediately released.
One NFL coach said via text regarding the possibility of Belichick pursuing Brown, “I bet he does.”
However it plays out, don’t expect an immediate landing, in New England or elsewhere, no matter how awesome it would be to see him playing against the Steelers on Sunday night (on NBC). Brown and agent Drew Rosenhaus likely will want to see whether anyone puts big money on the table before taking a minimum-salary deal with the Patriots. Also, the mechanics of releasing and signing players and finalizing rosters for a given weekend of football may make it impossible for a team to get Brown under contract and on the field by tomorrow.