The Oakland Raiders may have made a splash with the acquisition of Antonio Brown, but general manager Mike Mayock revealed it is a deal that was nearly on the verge of falling through.
The Raiders were coming off a disastrous 2018 NFL season and head coach Jon Gruden made it clear soon afterward that nothing would be off the table for them moving forward. With a bevy of quality picks at their disposal, the front office had more than enough assets to make a deal.
Meanwhile, the Pittsburgh Steelers had been fielding offers for Brown since the offseason began. Although parting ways was in the best interest of both sides, the Steelers were not willing to let the five-time All-Pro walk for nothing.
According to Peter King of Pro Football Talk, Mayock admits the deal nearly fell through:
“So Drew and I negotiated on Friday [March 8], but we were apart. It was not getting done. Actually, I went to bed Friday night and the deal was off the table. Our trade with Pittsburgh was contingent on us reaching a deal with Drew for Antonio, but that was very much in doubt last Friday night.”
“If you want to get a deal done, Drew will stay at it with tenacity. But we woke up on Saturday without a deal. He had a position and I had a position. We had some issues with the amount of guaranteed money they wanted, and how far we were willing to go. Plus, AB wanted to be the highest-paid receiver in football. Those were issues we had to address. Those respective positions cost us a deal on Friday night.
“But what I knew was AB wanted to play for Jon Gruden. Drew and I were willing to keep chipping away.”
Mayock’s comments give a unique insight into how intricate these blockbuster deals can be at times. If the Raiders do not acquire Brown, there is no question that their plan of attack would have been dramatically altered moving forward.
Fortunately, Oakland can take solace in the fact that they now have one of the best wide receivers in the NFL at their disposal. More importantly, they did not have to give up any first round draft picks in order to get him.
Now that the Raiders have beefed up their receiving corps, they can now focus on filling the other notable voids on their roster. The front office has a solid opportunity to get a head start with all the quality picks they have in the 2019 NFL Draft.