Imagine a world where actor Chris Evans, once best known for playing a Harvard hottie in The Nanny Diaries, who later became of the most famous faces on the planet thanks to his role as a puncher of “Very Fine People” as Captain America, decided after a long, successful stint in the Marvel franchise, it was time to jump ship to play the Green Arrow in a straight-to-video sequel of the Justice League, starring Tommy Wiseau as Superman.

That’s Antonio Brown’s saga in a convoluted nutshell.

The former sixth round pick out of Central Michigan is finally out of Pittsburgh and headed to Vegas (eventually). Since he joined the league in 2010, no pair of hands has been more productive, leading all receivers in receptions, yards and touchdowns. Yet, how does this blockbuster effect everyone involved?

THE RAIDERS
Without thinking too deeply, it appears to be a brilliant move for Oakland, thus “we’re not worthy” bows to Mayock and Gruden. Basically, they managed to swap out a good, but less productive wideout (Amari Cooper), plus a third and fifth-round pick for arguable the best receiver in football and the Cowboys first-round selection. Perhaps it’s not quite the Lufthansa Heist, but it certainly feels like someone got grifted.

The Raiders are also dropping dollars on the deal, bumping Brown’s three-year deal up to about $54 million total, with $30 million guaranteed. That’s a lot of haircuts Raiders owner Mark Davis is giving up to have a receiver who just hit 30. Say what you want about Amari Cooper, but from his short stint in Dallas, he was a solid pair of hands and is six years younger than Brown.

In reality, the trade will be judge based on how well Brown produces over the next three seasons. Based on last season’s results, it appears he still has plenty of tread left on the tires, so as long as he remains healthy, he should still have number one receiver written all over him, assuming there’s a quarterback capable of delivering the ball. Say what you want about Ben Roethlisberger, but he tossed it to Brown a lot.

ANTONIO BROWN
Without any inside information, this moved appeared to be about money and Brown and his beautiful blonde mustache got exactly what he wanted…more money. And most importantly, guaranteed money.

The dude could tear his ACL before the start of the next three seasons and still make $30 million dollars. Of course, if winning another Super Bowl was on his bucket list, he’s going to need to find a new bucket. He’s now leaving a franchise that, if Thanos could snap away the New England Patriots, would be the best franchise in football. He’ll be joining the Raiders, who last year were a dumpster fire wrapped in second dumpster fire. Having Brown and a stack of first-round picks will help, but this team has so many holes, if it were a boat, it would sink at the thought of water. They basically need everything on defense, except interior linemen, plus a tight end, running backs, offensive help and let’s not forget Derek Carr is still the quarterback.

The same Derek Carr, who often looks like a frightened Chihuahua in the pocket, has thrown just 18 more touchdowns than interceptions since his breakout year in 2016. Last year, he was sacked 51 times and one has to love rumors that say his black teammates don’t like him. Probably not true, but fun either way.

How do you think Brown treats his new arm in week three after another ball drifts five-feet out of bounds? I’ll go on on that limb and say, not well.

THE STEELERS
Two seasons ago, the Pittsburgh Steelers had arguable the most dynamic duo in the league with Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell. Both were the best at two very important positions in football. Both are now gone and in return, the Steelers have only a third and fifth-round pick to show for it.

This looks terrible for the decision makers in the front office. This looks bad on head coach Mike Tomlin and this even looks worse for Big Ben, who never met a bus he didn’t like to throw a teammate under. Shocking, a man twice accused of rape is not a leader others are begging to play with.

Anyhow, perhaps some loyalist, the kind that only masturbates with his Terrible Towel, will shout “better by subtraction,” but that’s just fuzzy math. James Conner was fine last season replacing Bell, but he wasn’t the game changer that Bell was. JuJu Schuster-Smith at times last year was the better receiver and he has a extremely bright future, but it’s one thing to find open space when opposing coaches are game planning to shutdown Brown, but life will be different when those same opponents will be game planning against you.

The simple fact is, Pittsburgh, who missed the playoffs this season, are a lot less scarier today, than they were on Friday morning.

 

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