What does his move mean for the player, the team, and were any Patriots bothered by the team’s decision?
The future for Antonio Brown
After the Patriots released Antonio Brown, it’s going to be an uphill climb for the star wide receiver. Due to the allegations of sexual misconduct, Brown is currently the subject of an NFL investigation. Once the investigation concludes, the league will then either clear him to play or suspend him based on its findings.
It’s unlikely anyone will sign Brown before his investigation is complete. Why? Because if he is suspended, he can serve it as a free agent. That means it wouldn’t really make sense for a team to pick him up before he serves his punishment. It definitely wouldn’t make sense for a team to pick him up before the NFL finalizes his investigation.
Even if Brown is cleared, there are more than enough red flags to keep teams away. A recent SI article, which detailed the accusations of Brown’s alleged sexual misconduct, also spelled out several other instances in which Brown purportedly mistreated and refused to pay people who were under his employ.
How will Patriots cutting Antonio Brown impact the team?
The Patriots cut Brown after one game in a New England uniform. From a salary perspective, it’s murky how much they’ll have to pay Brown. They’ve already declined to pay him the first part of his signing bonus.
From a football perspective, it’s hard to imagine this move impacting the Patriots too much. While Brown was certainly good for the team to have, he wasn’t a necessity.
They have Josh Gordon and Julian Edelman available to catch balls in the passing game. And New England’s never been known for building around stars at the skill positions – no matter who they have out wide or in the backfield, they always seem to make it work.
Would the Patriots’ offense have been better with Brown? There’s almost no question of that. But will they suffer greatly due to his absence? Most likely not.
How did the players react?
While Brown’s absence may not affect the Patriots too much, that doesn’t mean their players are glad he’s gone. According to one report, several were unhappy with the team cutting Brown:
“Brown, while talented, isn’t worth the constant headache he causes, and Kraft reportedly ‘led the charge’ to release him”, NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport reported Sunday, believing the receiver would keep causing issues as the NFL investigates the sexual-assault claims levied against him.
While the move to cut Brown was probably the right one, reportedly not everyone in Foxboro saw it that way, as ‘several Patriots voiced their displeasure with the move,’ per Rapoport, noting the ‘positive impression’ the receiver had made since he arrived.”
It’s doubtful this will cause too much trouble in the Patriots locker room, however. Head coach Bill Belichick is never one to let off-field controversies affect his team for long.
While the Patriots’ players are understandably upset at losing a player the caliber of Brown, it’s hard to argue with the decision to let him go with an impending NFL investigation and other bad press looming.
Based on the way the Patriots do business, the team will likely have forgotten about Brown within a few weeks.