Raiders Reporter: Brown Trade A Win For Gruden

Jon Gruden has made some questionable decisions as Raiders head coach, but acquiring Antonio Brown on the cheap isn't one of them

Zach Gelb
March 11, 2019 - 11:19 am
Jon Gruden Oakland Raiders NFL

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The Pittsburgh Steelers wanted a first-round pick for Antonio Brown.

Well, they didn’t get it.

The Steelers have agreed to trade Brown to the Oakland Raiders for third- and fifth-round picks in the upcoming NFL Draft, and Raiders fans have to be stoked.

“You have to think this is a win for the Raiders,” Mercury News Raiders beat writer Matt Schneidman said on The Zach Gelb Show. “Derek Carr has his No. 1 target. Now, does this make the Raiders a playoff team? No, not yet. They still need an offensive line. They still need everything on defense. But it’s a step. It’s arguably the best wide receiver in football, and that’s one step for Derek Carr. Carr is obviously thrilled. The Raiders waited it out. You’ve got to give credit to Jon Gruden on this one.”

Brown, who turns 31 in July, has caught 100+ balls in six consecutive seasons and last year led the NFL with 15 touchdowns. He will go from catching passes from Ben Roethlisbrger to – we think – Carr.

Why the uncertainty? Gruden reportedly loves quarterback prospect Kyler Murray, but the Heisman Trophy winner is expected to go No. 1 overall to Arizona.

“It doesn’t matter how much he loves him; he’s not going to get him,” Schneidman said. “Even if he did want him, he’s not going to get him. I do think he’s sold on Derek Carr as the quarterback of this team in 2019. I’m not going to say he’s the quarterback of this team for the distant future because this year is going to be a make-or-break year for Carr. If he doesn’t perform well this year with Antonio Brown, with an improved offensive line, then maybe Gruden looks at Tua Tagovailoa in the 2020 draft. Who knows? But I do think they are sold on Derek Carr for the 2019 team.”

After a breakthrough 12-4 campaign in 2016, the Raiders are 10-22 over the last two seasons. If the Raiders don’t contend for a playoff spot in 2019, how will Brown respond? Will he act out and cause drama? Will he divide the locker room?

Schneidman’s take: one step at a time.

“For now, Raider Nation, Raider fans, have to take it slow,” Schneidman said. “The first step is getting Antonio Brown to buy in to just want to be here in the first place, and I think that’s in place. Where that goes from there, we’ll see. Whether they win games, whether they lose games, we’ll see. But I do think the first step is in place of actually getting Antonio Brown to want to play with Derek Carr, to want to play for Jon Gruden – and that’s the most important thing right now.”