Tyrell Williams Jersey

Hours after introducing new star receiver Antonio Brown, the Raiders signed a tall, deep-play threat who could complement Brown in the passing game next season.

Tyrell Williams, who played the last four seasons with the Chargers, signed a free-agent deal with the Raiders late Wednesday. ESPN reported Williams signed a four-year contract worth $44 million with $22 million guaranteed and a maximum value of $47 million.

It continued an upgrade of the Raiders’ receiver group that began with their acquiring Brown, the four-time first-team All Pro, from the Steelers for a 2019 third- and fifth-round draft pick.

Tyrell Williams, Raiders

The Raiders finished last season with a receiver group led by Jordy Nelson, Seth Roberts and rookie Marcell Ateman. They now have a top three of Brown, Williams and Nelson.

At a news conference to introduce Brown on Wednesday, head coach Jon Gruden said that he wants “to have the best receiving corps in football.”

“I don’t see why we couldn’t be,” Williams, 27, said Wednesday night. “Obviously, it’s going to take some time to get used to each other and get the offense down. But I don’t see any reason why we couldn’t be the best receivers group in the league.”

Williams, 27, is a big target at 6-foot-4 and 205 pounds who set career-highs of 69 catches and 1,059 receiving yards in 2016. He has averaged 16.3 yards per catch in his career and leads the NFL with four touchdown catches of 75-plus yards since entering the league in 2015.

“I feel like I’m a guy that can take the top off at any time,” Williams said. “That’s really what I want to bring is being able to stretch the field and allow guys to have more stuff underneath. Obviously, that opens up the play-action a lot. But I also can do a lot of stuff underneath with my quickness and running routes.”

Brown figures to be the No. 1 target for quarterback Derek Carr next season – the 30-year-old has eclipsed 100 catches and 1,200 receiving yards in each of the last six seasons and caught a career-high 15 touchdowns last season. Nelson, who turns 34 in May, led Raiders receivers last season with 63 catches for 739 yards.

Williams said he had no reservations about signing with a team that already had a clear-cut No. 1 receiver – in fact, he said, the opportunity to join with Brown was a motivating factor.

“Seeing AB come here, and seeing the things they were doing on the offensive side of the ball, it was just exciting,” Williams said. “And Derek’s an awesome quarterback.

Johnathan Hankins Jersey

The Oakland Raiders are willing to pay for the players that contribute on a consistent basis.

Sunday night, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that the Raiders had signed defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins to a two-year contract. The move was not official until after the new league year began on Wednesday 13, but Hankins officially signed his new deal on Thursday afternoon. He will be back with the Silver and Black for another two seasons.


He was originally slated to be an unrestricted free agent at the beginning of the league year. According to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle, the deal is two years for $8.5 million dollars and includes $5.4 million guaranteed. Hankins will earn an average salary of $4.25 million. In addition, the defensive tackle has a 2019 roster bonus of $1 million, a 2020 roster bonus of $1.175 million, and an annual $150k workout bonus.
This move capped off a weekend in which Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock traded for wide receiver Antonio Brown, only giving up a third and fifth-round pick. Additionally, the Raiders also sent high-priced left guard Kelechi Osemele to the New York Jets for a fifth-round pick and signed safety Erik Harris to a two-year contract of his own.

Hankins was a second-round draft pick out of Ohio State during the 2013 NFL Draft. He spent four seasons with the New York Giants before moving on to Indianapolis prior to the 2017 season. The Michigan native was a first-team All-American in 2012. As a high school recruit, he was rated a 95 by 247Sports. He was considered the nation’s No. 4 defensive tackle and the No. 57 player overall. He chose the Buckeyes over offers from Michigan, Alabama, Oklahoma, Michigan State, and Florida.

During his tenure with the New York Giants, Hankins compiled 140 combined tackles, 10 sacks, and three forced fumbles. He was a solid contributor in New York, but the Giants did not retain his services. He instead headed over the Indianapolis Colts to join Chuck Pagano’s team. Hankins only spent one season in Indy, starting all 15 games in which he played and compiling 44 combined tackles and two sacks.
However, the Colts fired Pagano following the season and brought in Frank Reich to overhaul the team. Hankins’ tenure with the team ended only one year into his three-year, $27 million contract, and he was left looking for a new home. Needing reliable veterans for his new team, Gruden was more than happy to bring Hankins to town and signed him to a one-year, $2 million contract.

While the former Indianapolis Colts defender didn’t have the most productive season around with the Raiders, he still served as a solid contributor. Hankins started 14 of the 16 games that he played and earned a grade of 66.5 from Pro Football Focus. His 18 run stops in 2018 were far more crucial to this team than his ability as a pass rusher. Mayock and Gruden have been working to bring him back all offseason due to the importance of interior linemen, and this contract fulfills that goal.

While ensuring that Hankins is back in the fold next to promising youngsters in Maurice Hurst, P.J. Hall, and Arden Key, this does not mean that the Raiders are done adding linemen. Quinnen Williams, Josh Allen, or any number of intriguing options will be candidates in the NFL Draft. Keeping Hankins on the team just guarantees that capable bodies will be on the roster for next season and provides the young players with another leader.

Gareon Conley Jersey

Lester Hayes first took notice of Gareon Conley in the fall of 2015, with the Oakland Raiders iconic cornerback scribbling his observations on a notepad as he filled his Saturday afternoons watching college football.

Conley, then at Ohio State, grabbed the attention of “The Judge” with his understated speed and technique.

“That boy’s got good feet,” Hayes said of Conley this week. “He’s not a 4.45-speed guy. He’s more like 4.4-flat. That boy can catch up. You’ve got to have a burst, a turbo charge in one step. He’s got it.”

The 6-foot, 195-pound Conley is not the biggest cornerback in the league, so he’ll never be as physical as Hayes was in his prime. But that was Hayes giving Conley some pregame pointers, which did not include stickum, on Sunday at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.

And that was Conley playing 59 of 60 defensive snaps and making life miserable for Pittsburgh Steelers All-Pro receiver Antonio Brown, who was limited to a season-low 35 yards receiving on five catches.

That came one week after the Raiders held Kansas City Chiefs wideout Tyreek Hill to one catch for 13 yards.

Against the Steelers, Conley also tipped a pass that resulted in an acrobatic interception by linebacker Tahir Whitehead. Conley led the Raiders with two passes defensed, though he did lose leverage on the near-disastrous hook-and-ladder play to JuJu Smith-Schuster late in the game.

The natural talent was always there, right? That’s how and why Conley was a first-round draft pick. Confidence and accompanying comfort, though? Those were the questions for the Raiders’ second-year cornerback.

Until now. Conley is ascending while solidifying Oakland’s secondary, making it, along with fellow cornerback Daryl Worley, less of a concern for coach Jon Gruden going forward than it has been in years — and less of a priority when it comes to preparation for the NFL draft.

“Being healthy has made a big difference, and going out there knowing my teammates have my back,” Conley said after putting on his clinic in the Raiders’ 24-21 upset of the Steelers. “I’d say this is the best I’ve felt.”

It is showing.

“He’s a lot more confident now,” Gruden said. “He missed a lot of training camp. He was hurt. Missed most of last season. I think his preparation has been better. I think he’s been able to practice.

“Our secondary coach [Derrick Ansley] has helped him play a role in this. The guy is talented, and he’s gaining confidence each week. Each week he sees himself covering the best guys in football, and he’s having some success. He’s doing the little things right, and he’s getting better every week.”

Entering Sunday’s game, Conley ranked second in the NFL on Pro Football Focus’ Playmaker Index, with a 24.3 percent rate of targeted passes defensed or intercepted.

This is what Oakland was hoping for when it drafted Conley 24th overall out of Ohio State in 2017. But after suffering a groin injury in his first mandatory minicamp, a troublesome shin injury limited him to just two games as a rookie.

Hence Gruden continually referring to Conley as a “rookie” this season.

It was during the first practice of training camp this year that Conley tweaked a hip and became a bystander for most of the exhibition season.

But with two interceptions, he is tied for the team lead with safeties Marcus Gilchrist and Reggie Nelson, whose season came to an end last week with a trip to injured reserve. In fact, Conley tipped the ball to Gilchrist for one of his picks.

“I feel like I’ve done a solid job, but I can always be better,” Conley said. “They put me in the right position to cover, and I just rely on my technique.”
That’s music to the ears of Hayes, who credited the work of Ansley for turning Conley into a more complete cornerback.

“I shared a secret with coach Ansley back in [training camp], the secret that turned me from a linebacker into a corner,” Hayes said. “I’m 63 now, and I never shared this with anybody — can you go left?”

Hayes was referring to a natural right-handed player having the same flexibility, mobility and dexterity after switching to his non-dominant side midstride.

“I could go left with a turbo-burst,” Hayes said. “And in the bump-and-run, it’s about turning your left hip quick. Gotta go past cat-quick and go cheetah-quick.

“[Conley] bumps well, and his technique is strong, based upon who is teaching him, and coach Ansley is doing it. You’ve got to be coached up. You have to have burst, and you have to trust your technique.”

Conley is taking to the lessons, from both his position coach in Ansley and one of the most popular and successful Raiders in franchise history in Hayes.

“He’s very good, and he uses both sides,” Hayes said of Conley. “I just told him, ‘You’ve got to trust it. Trust your technique and work on your left side, your left thrust, your left shiver, your left shoulder. You must brand your medulla through training. And if you get beat, turn the page. You can’t live in the past.’

“That boy can play.”

Johnny Townsend Jersey

We all know the stressful changes required to mitigate climate crisis. We understand the necessity of giving up oil and coal and natural gas. We know we must drastically cut meat consumption, divert tax money from the military budget into developing an entirely new infrastructure that can support renewable energy.

Adapting to such massive changes seems too awful to contemplate. So we simply pretend it isn’t necessary and go about our lives as usual.

What happens when a diabetic decides that daily finger pricks, daily injections and daily deprivations are just too much to ask and refuses to comply with the strict regimen?

Does their diabetes go away?

Precancerous polyps don’t go away because we avoid colonoscopies, either.

The glaciers in Greenland won’t miraculously stop melting if we refuse to listen to factual coverage of climate change.

It’s important to remember we are capable of doing legitimately difficult things. In fact, most of us already have.

As Mormons, we make difficult adjustments throughout our lives. Many of us work for two years as full-time volunteer missionaries. We adjust to prolonged separation from our family and friends, to ridiculously frugal budgets, to living with assigned companions 24/7, to constant monitoring of our emails. We can’t read newspapers, surf the internet, watch TV, go to a movie or listen to anything other than approved music. We learn new languages and cultures, adapt to different climates.

Upon returning home, Mormons must adapt again to their native culture, which is surprisingly almost as hard as leaving it was to begin with. We adapt to short engagements, quickly followed by a household of five or six children.

As a gay Mormon, I had to adjust to total abandonment by my friends, to a life without the church that had been the focus of my existence. Ex-Mormons face a similar traumatic adjustment to their new normal.

If a convert to Mormonism can give up coffee, tea, alcohol and tobacco to save his soul, why can’t we give up meat to save civilization?

We are perfectly capable of making whatever adaptations we must to reduce greenhouse gases and limit the extent of global suffering.

We all know someone who’s been forced to change careers. I went from teaching English to experimenting on rat brains to delivering mail to processing equity loans. In today’s economy, few of us will escape the enormous difficulties associated with career change. Those working in oil and coal and fracking can do it as well. And the rest of us can accept the burden of helping them accomplish it.

A native of New Orleans, I evacuated with one suitcase two days before Hurricane Katrina and never saw my apartment again. I relocated to Seattle and started my life over at the age of 44.

If we can disrupt our lives to cope with the devastating effects of climate change, we can make the necessary adjustments to combat that climate change.

Everyone of every religion and every culture faces extreme difficulties. It’s part of mortality. What’s extraordinary about humans is that we even seek out difficulties on purpose. We climb Mt. Everest. We push ourselves to the limit for a five-year career in gymnastics. We spend months or years in Antarctica studying penguins. We fly to the moon, we live aboard space stations, we choose careers deactivating bombs. We spend our lives serving others as teachers, nurses, physicians, and firefighters. As bishops, Sunday School teachers and Relief Society presidents.

Mormons believe we’ve come to Earth for the purpose of being tested to our absolute limits.

We can adjust to whatever changes we must to reduce carbon emissions. The truth is, if we don’t do something hard now, we’ll be left with no choice but to face even more severe adjustments later.

Mormons left their homes in Europe and other parts of the world and crossed the Plains on foot to start new lives in the desert.

We can adjust to climate combat.

So let’s start singing the Handcart song and get to work.

Johnny Townsend, Seattle, is the author of “Behind the Bishop’s Door” and many other collections of Mormon short stories. His latest book of essays, “Human Compassion for Beginners,” was recently released by BookLocker.

P.J. Hall Jersey

It’s the day we’ve all been waiting for: a chance to hear from the top defensive linemen in the 2019 NFL Draft Class.

Nick Bosa, Rashan Gary, Josh Allen, Quinnen Williams, and many more were designated to speak with the media Saturday afternoon, as they shared what it’s been like to prepare for the upcoming draft. Any of the players mentioned would be a fit for the Oakland Raiders and after totaling 13 sacks in 2018 the team knows it needs to address the pass rush in the Draft if it wants to improve for next season.

Maurice Hurst Jr. and P.J. Hall were nice additions to the Raiders interior line following the 2018 NFL Draft, but the edge rush struggled to create pressure. Hurst led all defenders with four sacks last year, so the coaching staff is expecting the former Michigan Wolverine to build on his impressive rookie campaign, but he needs some help. Gary, Bosa, and Allen all boast freakish-athleticism, which is hard to ignore on film. Swim moves, great technique, and raw power all come to mind when you talk about this trio, and each would best serve as an outside rusher. Gary has the capability to line up in the three-technique, but in Defensive Coordinator Paul Guenther’s system I think the coaching staff would consider unleashing him on the edge. Not only would Gary provide a unique skill set, but he’d be reunited with his former college teammate in Hurst.

“If I had the opportunity to be a Raider, I would love it,” Gary told the media Saturday. “I miss my man, Mo [Hurst]. I would love playing with him again, so if I get the opportunity to that’d be good.”

Gary also shared that he met with Head Coach Jon Gruden and General Manager Mike Mayock, “I had a meeting with them yesterday… [actually] two days ago. They’re a great group of guys. I had a good time sitting down with them and we had a good meeting.”
The majority of mock drafts have suggested the Raiders will select Alabama defensive lineman Quinnen Williams at No. 4 overall, which wouldn’t be a bad pick by any means. As Raiders General Manager Mike Mayock pointed out during his media availability Wednesday, the majority of NFL quarterbacks feel the most uncomfortable when they’re unable to step up in the pocket. Williams proved that against some of the best talents in the SEC, he could rip a hole in the offensive line and barrel his way to the quarterback.

With the aforementioned players headlining the Combine, and the depth of this defensive line class, some players get lost in the mix, but defensive ends like Zach Allen, Montez Sweat, and Brian Burns aren’t worth overlooking. Allen, who attended Boston College, was a member of the Raiders’ North roster at the Senior Bowl, and during his media availability he opened up about the experience of learning from Head Coach Jon Gruden.

“I think the Senior Bowl was a fantastic learning experience,” Allen said. “I know I didn’t play the best I could, but coming off of not playing for three months that was the first time getting back into it with a foot injury. The amount of stuff I was able to learn from [Defensive Coordinator Paul] Guenther and [defensive line coach Brenston] Buckner, their football knowledge is really off the charts and just learning how to conduct yourself with Coach Gruden and Mr. Mayock. They’re really two guys that are the most well respected in this business, so it was an honor to play for them.”

Many of the players here at the Combine shared a similar sentiment, noting that it would be an honor to get selected by the Raiders with the No. 4, No. 24, or No. 27 pick, but each believes they’re worthy of going No. 1 overall.

Gruden and Mayock won’t reveal their draft plans, but a few of the defensive linemen that spoke Saturday — Rashan Gary, Josh Allen, Quinnen Williams, and Brian Burns — confirmed they’ve already met with the Raiders, or are scheduled to. It was fun to hear from the prospects Saturday, but it should be even more exciting to watch them compete in the drills on Sunday.

Until then, continue to check raiders.com for more news and updates regarding prospects.

Kolton Miller Jersey

The Oakland Raiders started two rookie offensive tackles in 2018, and he expects them to improve in a big way in year two.

With two of their first three picks in the 2018 NFL Draft, the Oakland Raiders selected offensive tackles Kolton Miller from UCLA, and Brandon Parker from North Carolina A&T. Miller, who was picked in the first round, was expected to start in year one, as the hope was Donald Penn would be on the left side, and Miller on the right.

However, Penn was injured during the summer, and once Miller was slotted on the left side, he did not relinquish the position. With Penn back in 2019, and hopefully healthy, he will be much better suited for the right tackle spot, as Miller proved as a rookie that he should be the team’s left tackle for the foreseeable future.

In Parker, the Raiders were drafted for depth, although he was forced into the starting lineup when Penn went down due to injury early in the season. There were games where he was downright bad, and if he is going to be a part of this team’s plans moving forward, he has to get better this season.

Head coach Jon Gruden is expecting big things from Miller and Parker in 2019, as the Raiders look to get their roster solidified after a four-win 2018 season.

Vic Tafur from the Athletic tweeted this out on Saturday.
The fact that Parker is living with Gabe Jackson is big news, as Jackson is on the verge of being one of the better guards in the NFL. Parker showed flashes during his rookie season, but should not have been in the starting lineup, though he did gain valuable experience in year one.

Reggie Nelson Jersey

The transitional nature of this Oakland season has been reflected in its leadership on defense.

Before the season, the Raiders named three defensive captains: safety Reggie Nelson, defensive end Bruce Irvin and linebacker Derrick Johnson. Irvin was waived Nov. 3 and Johnson released Oct. 16. Though defensive lineman Frostee Rucker has taken up the designation, Nelson, the 12-year veteran, is the only original remaining.

And his situation, too, has evolved.

No Oakland defender played more snaps over the past two seasons than Nelson, but his percentage of snaps has decreased in each of his past six games, including 12 snaps Sunday against the Chargers. He also was inactive for the Raiders’ Week 8 game against the Colts, snapping a streak of 82 regular-season games played.

On Monday, Nelson was asked if that fluctuation has been difficult.

“It’s not difficult,” Nelson said. “I’m here to win, man. When your number’s called, you go out there and play, regardless. You ain’t got no control of how many snaps you play. We’re trying to win games. Whoever’s out there, you expect them to do their job and make plays.”

Nelson is not the only player who has ceded playing time recently as the Raiders have shuffled players in their secondary. Cornerback Rashaan Melvin was inactive for two games prior to Sunday and played just seven snaps in Week 6 against Seattle, but he was active Sunday and played 31 snaps against the Chargers.

Melvin’s playing time has dwindled as Daryl Worley, 23, and Gareon Conley, 23, have emerged as starters. Leon Hall, 33, the Raiders’ primary nickel cornerback for most of the first half, also has received decreasing snap counts of 37, 23 and 12 in the past three games. Nick Nelson, the Raiders’ fourth-round pick in April, made his debut in Week 8 against the Colts and played a personal-high 24 snaps Sunday.

“I think Conley and Worley, those are the two guys that started, I think you saw (Nick) Nelson emerge a little bit more as the nickel,” head coach Jon Gruden said of the cornerback group Monday. “We’re going to rotate Melvin in there — he’s a good player. And we’ll try to be smart about when we do it. At the same time, only two can play.”

Nelson has been giving way in recent weeks to Erik Harris and, against the Chargers, to 2016 first-round pick Karl Joseph. Nelson said changes are natural with the Raiders at 1-8, the NFL’s lone one-win team.

“The season’s not going the way it’s supposed to go,” Nelson said. “We’ve got a bunch of young guys that they drafted and want to get out there and play. That’s just part of the game, man, when things aren’t going good. You’re underneath the microscope and just got to do your job.”

The Raiders re-signed Nelson, 35, in free agency this spring as a familiar face to new defensive coordinator Paul Guenther, with whom he spent six seasons in Cincinnati. The Raiders rank 27th in yards allowed per game, 30th in points allowed and last in yards allowed per play. Nelson indicated those numbers are not a reflection of the coaching staff.

“I think they do a good job of the game plan, to be honest with you,” Nelson said. “I mean, we’ve got to go out there on Sunday and execute the game plan. They work hard all week to put us in the best position to make plays. And we’ve just got to go out there and make them.

“I don’t think anyone in the locker room has lost confidence. I mean, they go out there and play hard each week, and that’s all they ask for. Go out there and play. We know what’s at stake, we ain’t going to make the playoffs. So you’ve got to go out there and play hard. You’re still being evaluated, so you’ve still got to go out there and go to work.”

Ealy let go: The Raiders announced Tuesday they waived defensive end Kony Ealy from the active roster and linebacker James Cowser from the practice squad. Ealy was on the roster for only one game and was inactive against the Chargers.

Derek Carr Jersey

When Blake Bortles was cut by the Jaguars and picked up by the Rams, he became the 13th quarterback from the 2014 NFL draft to leave the team that drafted him. Now only Derek Carr remains.

Bortles was first quarterback selected and the third overall pick in 2014, and he lasted five seasons in Jacksonville. His was not a good career, but it was pretty good by the standards of the 2014 quarterback class.

Other than Carr, there’s only one quarterback from that class who’s projected to be a starter this season: Jimmy Garoppolo, who was chosen in the second round by the Patriots and traded to the 49ers, where he’s currently atop the depth chart, as long as his surgically repaired knee holds up.

Overall, that draft is a major disappointment at the quarterback position. While Carr is the only one still with the team that drafted him, four are currently plying their trade in the Alliance of American Football: First-round pick Johnny Manziel, fifth-round pick Aaron Murray, sixth-round pick Zach Mettenberger and sixth-round pick Garrett Gilbert.

Other than Carr, Garoppolo and Bortles, first-round pick Teddy Bridgewater is the only quarterback from the 2014 draft who’s still in the NFL. The rest — Logan Thomas, Tom Savage, David Fales, Keith Wenning and Tajh Boyd — are currently not on NFL rosters. It wasn’t a good year for quarterbacks.

Antonio Brown Jersey

Antonio Brown is available for trade, and predicting where he will land (or what the Steelers will get in return) is like guessing where the pill will stop on a roulette wheel. Never has the destination for an NFL star on the trading block been so difficult to forecast.

Brown, who turns 31 years old in July, is a top-shelf No. 1 receiver on the field right now. He’s shown no marked sign of decline, but history and science suggest he could soon. His greatest strength is the speed and quickness he has getting in and out of his breaks, which is all predicated on balance—one of the first attributes an aging athlete loses. When Brown’s game does start going downhill, it could roll quickly.

However Brown is the NFL’s craftiest contested catch artist not named DeAndre Hopkins. Some teams might see Larry Fitzgerald-type longevity in store for him. It might not matter, though, because most likely whoever deals for Brown will see him as a two-year rental, with decisions about 2021 and future years to be made later.

Brown’s behavior off the field, especially last season, is another story. In recent years rumors and gripes about his diva behavior have poured in. And it’s likely that those stories are just the tip of the iceberg, considering that is has always been, and is now especially, in the Steelers’ best interest to keep ugly Brown stories sealed. As an outsider looking in, here’s what we can see from afar:

At the beginning of the 2018 season, Brown skipped a Monday practice after the Steelers fell to 0-1-1, sparking rumors. Brown’s agent Drew Rosenhaus attempted to put a lid on the rumors, saying Brown was dealing with a personal matter.

Brown was benched in the Steelers’ final game of the 2018 season after reportedly getting into a disagreement during a Wednesday morning walkthrough and skipping the rest of Week 17 practices. Brown was reportedly angry about not receiving the team’s MVP award.

Brown’s behavior away from work is more concerning, ranging from mercurial to disturbing. His cryptic social media messages, charges of driving 100 miles per hour in a 45-mph zone, allegations of threatening a reporter, a civil lawsuit for tossing furniture off a 14th-story balcony and, most recently, reports of a domestic dispute that the NFL is now investigating, are all examples.

And so we have a true No. 1 receiver whose game may or may not decline soon, who may or may not take a new contract and, scariest of all, may or may not be a total locker room cancer and off-field menace—that’s a lot of high-risk, high-reward question marks.

It’s safe to assume plenty of teams won’t even consider trading for Brown, and the ones that do also must consider how a “change of scenery” will impact the wide receiver. Whichever team gets him will claim they have a strong locker room culture that can absorb him, but that tired cliché has almost become a kiss of death for risk-taking teams.

Brown’s situation is so bizarre that we can’t even see it clearly from the Steelers’ selling perspective. For example, we’d normally assume that they would not deal Brown to an AFC rival like Baltimore, Cleveland, New England or Indy (all teams that could use another starting wide receiver, by the way). But given how heinous Browns’ “down side” appears, perhaps the Steelers would indeed ship him to a rival, hoping he’d poison their locker room. (Maybe it’s just urban legend, but some believe that San Antonio Spurs basketball czar Gregg Popovich was trying to do that to the dynastic Chicago Bulls when he dealt Dennis Rodman in 1995.)

If Brown is willing to take a new contract, that would make a team’s immediate cap space less of an issue, as almost every deal can have a cap-friendly structure. (It’s not apples to apples, but recall back in January 2014, the Saints were a projected $12 million OVER the salary cap … before signing safety Jairus Byrd to a six-year, $54 million contract.)

With this mindset, all 31 teams are (theoretically) in play for Brown. But any team that would want to do a new deal will have to go through Pittsburgh’s front office in order to talk with Brown and Rosenhaus. Any projection of Brown’s next destination amounts to total guesswork because, right now, it’s impossible to know who and what Brown really is—and what the Steelers will accept in return. Stylistically, he fits into any team’s scheme.

For most of his career he has lined up on an island on the weak side, drawing double teams and winning in space. That makes him most appealing to teams whose scheme often features two-and three-receiver route combinations:


New York Jets

Los Angeles Chargers






New York Giants

San Francisco



Tampa Bay

Teams with highly-schemed aerial assaults—featuring pre-snap motion, nuanced formationing and quick, defined throws—could incorporate Brown seamlessly. That’d be:

New England


Kansas City






Los Angeles Rams




New Orleans


And then there are the teams whose quarterbacks have unique sandlot playmaking abilities and would value Brown’s sense for uncovering late in the down—a skill he mastered playing with one of history’s greatest playmaking QBs, Ben Roethlisberger. Those teams:




Green Bay

Don’t be surprised if Brown winds up somewhere that most people think was totally unexpected.