Former Oakland Raiders’ wide receiver Antonio Brown has reportedly cut a deal with the New England Patriots, hours after he was released from the Raiders, capping off months of bizarre drama. The NFL reports that the one-year deal with the Patriots is for $15 million, with a $9 million signing bonus. The Oakland Raiders announced Saturday morning that they released Antonio Brown hours after the star wide receiver posted a plea to be “released” on his Instagram feed. Trouble started between Brown and the team almost immediately after he signed a contract worth $50 million before the start of the season. He battled the Raiders management over his refusal to wear an NFL-approved helmet, and then missed most of training camp because of a cryotherapy machine mishap that left his feet frostbitten. He was fined more than $50,000 for the missed practices, over which he threatened to punch general manager Mike Mayock in the face during a swearing match.
On Friday, head coach Jon Gruden said things were getting better and Brown was expected to be in the lineup Monday night for the team’s season opener against the Denver Broncos after fining Brown $200,000 and threatening to strip him of his $30 million signing bonus. Then on Saturday, Brown posted “You are gonna piss a lot of people off when you start doing what’s best for you,” followed by a comment: “I’m not mad at anyone. I’m just asking for the freedom to prove them all wrong.” The Raiders responded with a message of their own, tweeting, “The Raiders have released WR Antonio Brown from the team today.”