Antonio Brown has had quite an entrance with the Oakland Raiders after being traded to the team earlier this offseason. Despite all of the drama, the expectations for the former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver remain nearly the same.
The disgruntled wideout forced his way out of Pittsburgh after having a dispute with Ben Roethlisberger before a Week 17 game against the Cincinnati Bengals. Ultimately, Brown decided to sit out the game and request a trade.
The All-Pro wideout arrived in a sea of drama at Raiders training camp. Shortly after his arrival, the drama began to build with Brown.
At first, the veteran receiver missed practices due to frostbitten feet from a cryotherapy machine. Along with his cold feet, Brown was having ongoing talks with the NFL to allow him to wear the helmet he has worn his entire career, with no results.
Recently, Brown returned to training camp and struck a sponsorship deal to wear a custom helmet. Therefore, business is definitely booming for the Raider receiver off the field. On the field, we all know Brown is still one of the NFL’s best at his position.
This year, Brown will be downgrading from Roethlisberger to Derek Carr as his quarterback. Here are three last-minute predictions for the Raiders’ receiver in 2019.
3. Brown Will Exceed 100 Receptions… Again
There’s no mistaking that Brown is one of the NFL’s best pass-catchers as he enters his 10th season in the league. After joining the Raiders, fans and the media alike have begun to believe there will be a huge drop-off in his production this season.
Over the past six seasons, Mr. Big Chest has put up historic numbers, averaging 114 receptions, 1,524 yards, and 11 touchdowns per season. There may be a slight decrease in his output in 2019, but not much.
The former Steelers wide receiver seems to catch 100 passes in his sleep every season. This season isn’t any different. Brown may not bring in 130 receptions in 2019, but it’s hard to believe he won’t cross the century mark in receptions.
Carr is in a make-or-break season with Oakland. He knows his best chance to make plays is to target Brown. As talented wide receivers tend to do, the newly acquired wideout will let his quarterback know when he needs the ball.
2. Brown Will Score 10 Touchdowns
Looking back at last year, the only number that may dip for Brown is touchdowns. The 31-year-old wide receiver had 15 touchdowns (a career high) in his final season in the Steel City in 2018.
Amid the drama surrounding Brown, Jon Gruden has remained adamant that he will be a huge part of the Oakland offense. Considering the Raiders paid Brown nearly $17 million a year on his new contract, it was expected that he was going to be the go-to guy.
Gruden is known to create plays for stars on his offense. The passionate head coach is smiling from ear-to-ear while imagining ways to utilize Brown. Regardless of how he gets them, Brown is going to get 10 touchdowns in 2019.
Expect to see more celebrations from the playmaking wide receiver with his new team.
1. There Will Be No More Drama Involving Brown This Season
From his frozen feet to the helmet he wears on his head, Brown hasn’t had any shortage of dramatic events since he arrived in Oakland. Despite all of that, Brown knows that once Week 1 begins, it is all business.
We’ve seen elite receivers love the attention that comes with playing in the NFL. At one point, Terrell Owens was doing sit-ups in his driveway as he conducted a press conference with the media.
Contrary to what people believe, Brown loves football and has a work ethic that is unmatched. Even his new head coach, who has coached Tim Brown and Joey Galloway, has reiterated that he has never seen someone put as much time into perfecting his craft as Brown.
With previous dramas out of the way, Brown will shift his focus to helping his new team win football games.