The Raiders Have Released Antonio Brown

After a flurry or events that could only be described as tumultuous, the Antonio Brown era with the Oakland Raiders is now officially over. The final nail in the coffin was driven in on Saturday morning, with the Raiders choosing to release Brown.

Brown used his Instagram account to ask for his release from the organization on Saturday morning and, while the Raiders may have considered doing so even before that action, Brown got his wish. Prior to Brown’s plea, he released a private phone call with head coach Jon Gruden, drawing the ire of many, and there was buzz that the Raiders voided the remaining guaranteed money (almost $30 million) on Brown’s contract.

Because Brown’s deal reportedly no longer included substantial guarantees, the nuclear option of releasing him was always possible but, given the timeline, this certainly escalated quickly. Still, the full saga may not be over from a financial perspective, with arguments almost assuredly coming on the money previously owed to Brown.

The Raiders were not expected to seriously challenge for the Super Bowl this season, even with Brown on the roster. However, the team made a substantial investment in the talented pass-catcher — sending a third and fifth-round draft pick to the Pittsburgh Steelers to acquire his services — and after releasing him, Oakland has limited options in the passing game.

The Raiders opted not to suspend Brown and, for a brief period, he was on track to appear in the team’s season opener on Monday night against the Denver Broncos. In a hurry, though, the entire situation changed and Brown will now hit the market as an intriguing, yet divisive, free agent.