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Patriots Emerge as Favorites to Acquire Antonio Brown

Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown
Big Ben and Antonio Brown's partnership could be coming to an end. Photo by Keith Allison (Flickr) [CC License]
  • Patriots vault into betting favorite to acquire Antonio Brown
  • Is New England willing to give up assets for the star receiver?
  • What is the best bet to make?

It was just a matter of time before this was going to happen.

Not even listed the last time oddsmakers were predicting where Steelers’ wide receiver Antonio Brown was heading, the New England Patriots have now vaulted to the top of the charts as the favorite a week later.

With the Patriots currently in full Super Bowl-quest mode, is this a move that could continue the Brady-Belichick era into the 2020s?

Odds on Antonio Brown’s Team in 2019

Team Odds
New England Patriots +350
Atlanta Falcons +500
Pittsburgh Steelers +500
Detroit Lions +550
New York Jets +550
San Francisco 49ers +550
Oakland Raiders +600
Indianapolis Colts +600
Seattle Seahawks +700
Miami Dolphins +1000
Green Bay Packers +1400
THE FIELD (Any other team) +400

*Odds taken 1/18

Patriots have Need and Infrastructure for Brown

This is the first time since 2010 that the Patriots have not had a receiver break 1,000 yards receiving in a season.

While that can be attributed to a Julian Edelman suspension and Rob Gronkowski being slowed by injuries (and a failed Josh Gordon experiment), this core is older and less explosive than ever.

Brown is just into his 30s, but would provide the athletic boost to an offense that appears to have developed a nice power running game with the emergence of rookie Sony Michel.

AB has had six-straight 100+ reception and 1,000+ yard receiving seasons, leading the NFL in each of those categories twice in that span.

As Brady heads into the twilight of his career, he could use the league’s most multi-faceted receiver, a player that can line up anywhere on the field and run any route.

Team culture matters in this scenario, particularly with the dumpster fire Brown has caused since getting suspended for the final game of the regular season.

New England has shown that they are willing to take on such players (see: Dillon, Cory and Moss, Randy) and hold them to a standard.

But the release of Gordon in-season, for failing to hold up his end of a conditions-based arrangement, also showed production doesn’t matter to the Pats if you aren’t accountable.

Who’s the Best Bet Here?

I still contend that the Raiders (+600) are going to make a splash with one of those three first-round picks. The Colts (+600) still make make a ton of sense, and the Seahawks (+700) as a long shot have both the star QB and the team rep for letting big personalities be big.

But as of right now, I would place the 49ers (+550) as the best bet. There’s been enough banter back and forth between Brown and the players to know there is mutual interest, only enhanced by Jerry Rice’s comments this week.

An offensive mastermind like Kyle Shanahan, given the Jimmy Garoppolo-Brown-George Kittle combo, has the potential to be a supercharged Brady-Gronk-Edelman 2.0 version.

And while Brown would fill a massive positional position need for the Patriots, it will likely cost a high draft pick (second round minimum). And why would Belichick do that when he could turn that asset into (potentially) multiple draft picks this year and next?

The bigger stumbling block is probably the Steelers. With an outright release the only thing not on the table, it’s hard to imagine Pittsburgh dealing him to a rival that’s basically stood in their way to ultimate success in the AFC.

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