On the surface, a marriage between the Seattle Seahawks and Antonio Brown seems like a match made in heaven. Pete Carroll actively seeks players who have been through adversity, he likes grit, and above all, he seeks “alphas” — Richard Sherman often talked about true Seahawks having dog in them. Unfortunately, though, the Antonio Brown/Pete Carroll pairing would be fraught with divisiveness. Here are three reasons why.
1. Carroll’s never had an issue with locker room infighting — as long as it stays between players. Although he might jettison a rabble-rouser after the season or let a free agent walk, he’s kept players in-house after coming to blows, supposedly sleeping with the quarterback’s wife, failed drug tests, etc. A former VMAC employee recently told me that the rumors surrounding Golden Tate, and a possible affair with Russell Wilson’s wife, were frequently the topics of discussion around the proverbial water cooler — and believed by many in the building. Whether or not the rumors were true is irrelevant. It’s the fact that even this wasn’t even for Tate to be moved before his contract expired.
What does put you in Pete Carroll’s doghouse though? Publicly speaking ill of him. The poster children of this fact are, of course, Michael Bennett, Earl Thomas, and Richard Sherman. Three of the best players to ever don a Seahawks uniform were either cut, traded, or had contract negotiations shut down because they justifiably criticized the head coach’s woeful game planning.
Given Pete Carroll’s commitment to running an archaic, run-based offense, it’s likely we’d see an angry Antonio Brown. If he’s not getting the targets he deserves, he’s going to be unhappy. And when Antonio Brown is unhappy he lets the world know. That public anger is going to be directed towards Pete Carroll and Carroll won’t stand for that. It’d be tough to make the money work. Seattle’s only got $9.8 million in cap space this year and we’d need to save $2-3 million for in-season injury replacement. That’s not going to be enough to satisfy Brown. The Raiders tried to take his guaranteed money away this morning, which prompted his demand for a trade. It’s likely John Schneider would only offer him a one-year prove-it deal in the neighborhood of $16 million. The only way the Seahawks make that happen though is if they dip into 2020’s $64 million in available cap space. That seems unlikely for a one-year relationship that’s guaranteed to be volatile.
2. Moments ago, the Philadelphia Eagles restructured Alshon Jeffery‘s deals in what appears to be an attempt to create more cap space in 2019. GM Howie Roseman is a brilliant tactician and singing one of the NFL’s best route runners to an already loaded receiving corps, on a team that wants to throw the ball, fits that bill.
3. The all too obvious secondary option is that the New England Patriots scoop him up. After the trade to acquire Brandin Cooks, Bill Belichick talked about the difficulty of accurately evaluating route running, saying it’s much easier to discern whether a player is a truly talented route runner once they’re in the pros. Antonio Brown will go down as one of the best route runners of all time. Couple that with the fact that off-field baggage has never been an issue for Belichick regarding talented receivers (see: Randy Moss and Josh Gordon) and this pairing might make even more sense than Philly.