Antonio Brown lost at least dollar 14M, yet he comes out a winner in Patriots power play

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Antonio Brown lost at least dollar 14M, yet he comes out a winner in Patriots power play In a perfect world, hed be a . And now, . Why it didnt happen last March was simple. According to a source familiar with New Englands interest in Brown last spring – including the talks between the Steelers and Patriots – it came down to this: Pittsburgh didnt want Brown in New England. The Steelers knew theyd likely have to grapple with the Patriots in the 2019 playoff picture. Beyond that, there was already bitter feelings born out of competition between the two teams not to mention the  . Sending Brown into the arms of the Patriots and Bill Belichick would not only be costly to Pittsburghs own playoff chances, it would border on humiliating. Especially if the deal wasnt for a significant package in return. It would mean waving the white flag to all the parties the Steelers simply didnt want to surrender to. From Brown to Bill Belichick to . Pittsburgh just wasnt going to do it, said a source familiar with the Patriots pursuit of Brown. It was never going to happen. No matter what [agent Drew Rosenhaus] thought or whoever else, there was no way the Steelers were sending him to New England. [Watch live NFL games all season long for free .] But the Raiders? They werent a threat. There was no animus there. And it was a franchise in a rebuild. Seeing Oakland and Brown in the playoffs was a slim chance. This was the smart move – and Pittsburgh took it. Five months later, with Brown being cut by the Raiders and signing with the Patriots, Pittsburgh is suddenly staring at precisely what it didnt want to happen. Living a completely unexpected version of a nightmare that it tried to avoid. How could two franchises get completely turned on their ears in just five months? And why the hell would the Patriots – a supposedly consummate Team Before Player organization – continue to pursue arguably the leagues biggest Player Before Team reputation? Well, its pretty basic. Because Bill respects the s out of the talent, said a source close to Belichick. Thats why he wanted Antonio Brown in the first place. He also wont handle Antonio the way Jon Gruden did. Bill is working with six Super Bowl rings. Hes not going to put up with anything. Nothing. He does not care. Hell tell that to Antonio from the start, too. Hell confront him and tell him the truth. If Antonio becomes a problem, hell be gone. Its as simple as that. Indeed, that might be the ultimate out for the Patriots, by not being bound to Brown further than tomorrow. By making it known to Brown that the organization respects his talent but also expects his conformity to the mission. The same way it did with Randy Moss and Corey Dillon and Chad Johnson and Albert Haynesworth. Sometimes it works out. Sometimes it doesnt. But the Patriots will be ready to eject whenever they feel its necessary. Belichick could care less about anything that happened with Brown before the second he stepped into the Patriots franchise. If he can help New England win, great. If he cant, hell be gone. Thats a simple calculus. Especially when the math hasnt gotten exponentially more reliable at the wide receiver position. Sure, . Relying on him is a week to week proposition because history has shown that it has to be that way.  is Julian Edelman.  is a rookie and his health has already inhibited high expectations of an impact. But you add Brown into the mix? Thats a no brainer because not a whole lot has changed about why the Patriots liked him back in March. If anything, the Patriots have a reason to like him more now because they may get a more committed player for even less risk than last spring. Just a contract that will surely have protections and absolutely zero draft compensation. And with a message Brown should be hearing crystal clear right now: Welcome to the team. Youre completely expendable, but wed like to do great things with you. Do things our way and everything will work out. Direct any concerns to our trophy room. Its possible Brown will be completely on message with the Patriots. Particularly knowing that this is a relationship that has to last for only five months for everyone to reap massive wins. Not just for the Patriots to get another Super Bowl, but for Brown to stick it to everyone in the process, from Mike Mayock and the Raiders, to Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers, and everyone in between who criticized him since the unceremonious end of the 2018 season. Of course, something like that would drive the no single player before the entire team crowd insane. Only because it would mean Brown ultimately forced his way off two teams in six months and came out with at least some measure of victory. Heres the thing: New England doesnt care because New England isnt the fool in this story. The Patriots have already won. The Raiders are wearing a dunce cap. The Steelers look like they just got gamed despite their best efforts. All while the Patriots get to test drive Brown without any real worries about repercussions. Even if it doesnt work out, the pages of history will say it was a Brown problem, not a Patriots problem. Which brings us back to Browns place in this. He won a partial victory. No matter what your opinion is of how he achieved it, hes coming out of this on a better team and with a better quarterback. Its not a total victory, mind you. Brown still forfeited at least dollar 14 million in guaranteed money – even in a best case scenario for the 2019 season. Could he eventually win that money back down the line? Yes. One more deal in 2020 would likely do exactly that. But he isnt there yet. And the risk right now is pretty much all on him. The flip side: He has put himself in position to gain everything back and maybe more. After all, nothing reinvents a damaged reputation more quickly than success. And no team has shown the ability to remake the memory of a player more than the Patriots. We forget what the narrative was around Randy Moss before he went to the Patriots. The same with Dillon. Heres a refresher: It was a whole lot of bad. Mountains of criticism. And to go back to Blount, the guys career was basically saved by New England twice. Its precisely why this isnt just a no brainer for the Patriots. Its the most obvious choice for Brown, too. And maybe it was always the right choice for him. Maybe this is the union that truly would have been the right match back in March. A marriage that might have altered the timeline of the past five months. None of that matters now. Brown fought his way off two teams and found a more perfect world through a totally imperfect path. Critics can scream all they want. New England could care less. This is was and will always be about winning. And thats the only program Antonio Brown needs to get with to make the next five months work for everyone. More from Yahoo Sports: Related slideshow: Best of the 2019 NFL season Provided by imagn

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