Even after his dismissal from the New England Patriots, wide receiver Antonio Brown is keeping himself busy. He’s been taking college classes, keeping in shape, and hasn’t stopped trying to get his money from the Pats and Oakland Raiders. The NFL Players Association has filed several grievances on Brown’s behalf, looking to recoup $40 million.
Legal issues are always tricky, however, and Brown’s season has been anything but straight forward. So, when push comes to shove, does he have any chance of getting one last NFL payday?
Antonio Brown’s season so far
In case you need a refresher, Brown has done just about everything besides play football this season. His year started with the Oakland Raiders, but things started getting weird before he even hit the field.
After a weird case of frostbite, Brown took issue with the NFL’s mandate that he had to change helmets. That led to several threats of retirement, but things looked to have settled down as the season approached. The exact opposite happened, however, as the receiver got into a shouting match with general manager Mike Mayock. He would apologize, but the Raiders cut him before Week 1.
Brown then joined the Patriots and played one game for the club. His spiral would continue, though; a former trainer, Britney Taylor, accused the receiver of sexual assault. That news, combined with threatening texts Brown sent to Taylor, forced the Patriots to cut bait. Brown technically remains a free agent, but no teams have shown any interest in signing him
What are Brown’s grievances?
All in all, Antonio Brown has filed seven grievances against the New England Patriots and the Oakland Raiders. As you would assume, they’re all aimed at recouping money that the receiver feels he deserves based on contractual specifications.
The first five grievances are against the Raiders. Brown is asking for the $215,000 that he was fined for skipping training camp sessions, his $860,294 salary for Week 1, and the $13,764,706 that he was guaranteed for the 2019 season. He’s also seeking $14.5 million that he was guaranteed for 2020 and a $500,000 for the 2020 season.
In regards to the Patriots, Brown wants his $9 million signing bonus, his $62,500 salary for Week 3, and the rest of his guaranteed $875,000 salary.
Can the grievances actually succeed?
As with most topics, the answer lies somewhere in the middle. While there’s almost no chance that Antonio Brown can reclaim all of his lost $40 million, he has a good shot at winning at least a few of his claims.
Given the timing of his cuts, Brown should be able to get his Week 1 check from the Raiders and Week 3 check from the Patriots. He also has a reasonable shot at winning the grievance about the Raiders’ fines, depending on his conversations with head coach John Gruden.
After that, however, things get more complicated. While the rest of the guaranteed money is likely a lost cause, the Patriots signing bonus will likely come down to the arbitrator’s judgment. The team will argue that Brown’s personal issues provided them with a legitimate reason to cut him; the player’s side will contend that a civil suit had no impact on his ability to play football.
Regardless of the likelihood of each outcome, the case probably won’t reach arbitration until the spring. For everyone involved, that hearing—and the end of this regrettable scenario—probably can’t come quickly enough.