By Jordan Moening
Jordan Moening is a first-year undergraduate student at Bowling Green State University. He is a Sport Management Major with a Minor in Journalism. He is also a native of Wapakoneta, Ohio and is a huge lover of sports, mainly football, basketball, and soccer.
March 15, 2019
On March 10, 2019, Antonio Brown announced his intention of signing with the Oakland Raiders. Two days before his announcement, the Buffalo Bills were planning on signing him to their team. Antonio Brown quickly responded on the NFL’s Instagram by posting a comment saying, “Fake News.” This begs the question of how the business of the NFL operates during the offseason.
To start, the new league year for signing free agents technically started on March 13th. Since then, players have been getting their official new contracts. Free agency and the NFL draft are the two most important components of the off-season. Depending on the team, either one could be more important (If the team is rebuilding with younger talent, then it would be the Draft; if they are looking for an “all-in” year, they are looking to the Super Bowl). The real intrigue of free agency happened only a couple of days before the new league year opened. Teams need to make cap space for rookies and new players that they want to acquire. The best way to do that is to release a player and remove that player from the team’s payroll. Some teams sign players off of waivers after they have been released, and there are some trades between teams. The main trades that occur are between players and draft picks.
Some players have to make hard decisions about where they want to play. The decision is usually not as hard for very good football players like Antonio Brown. He can play for just about any team that he wants and get a big contract. Most teams hoping to acquire players need to look at their salary cap. Players that cut into the salary cap for a large amount of time cost a lot of money, and few players in the league are worth huge contracts that fill a lot of cap space, but Antonio Brown is worth it. According to NFL.com statistics, in 9 seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers, he has recorded 837 receptions, 11,207 yards receiving on 13.4 yards per catch, and 74 touchdowns (“Antonio Brown,” 2019). Those stats obviously make him one of if not the best receiver in football.
“Fake News.” The sports media tweeted, made an Instagram post, and put word out about the trade of Antonio Brown. In an interview with ESPN, NFL.com writer Grant Gordon posted quotes of Antonio Brown in an interview, “I don’t even have to play football if I don’t want. I don’t even need the game, I don’t need to prove nothing to anyone, If they wanna play, they going to play by my rules. If not, I don’t need to play. Another quote stated, “Obviously, I want the game, but I don’t need the game, it’s a difference” (Gordon, 2019, para 4). I personally feel that Brown is trying to make the game about money, instead of loyalty to try to stay with the Steelers and see if they can win championships together in Pittsburgh. Another example of a player leaving Pittsburgh was former teammate Le’Veon Bell who signed with the New York Jets and left Pittsburgh.
In the long run, the NFL is a business and players are going to choose where they want to play. They will ask for however much money they want, and if the player is very good and fits that team’s salary cap, then that team will make it happen. In Antonio Brown’s case, it’s not “Fake News” that the NFL Offseason is still very fun to follow.
Antonio Brown. (2019). NFL.com. Retrieved from http://www.nfl.com/player/antoniobrown/2508061/careerstats
Gordon, G. (2019, March 3). Antonio Brown: ‘I don’t even have to play football.’ NFL.com. Retrieved from http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000001020572/article/antonio-brown-i-dont-even-have-to-play-football