“Let’s All Head Out Now”

It’s been quite the day in the NFL before the first Sunday of action, hasn’t it? First, Antonio Brown goes on his Instagram and posts a cryptic message then proceeds to ask for his release from the Oakland Raiders. Then, Julio Jones gets his money which makes him the top-paid receiver in the NFL. But back to AB. Every month during his “stint” with the Raiders, it seemed like something was always happening. From frostbitten feet because of the cryotherapy machine, to complaining about a helmet and threatening retirement to getting into a confrontation with Raiders GM Mike Mayock. He got his wish and the Raiders released him this morning. There were rumors about where he’d end up next. This afternoon, he signed with you guessed it, the New England Patriots.

I’m not shocked at all that he decided to sign with them one bit and you shouldn’t be either. During the off-season, I was asked who would potentially target him for a trade and one of the teams I listed was the Patriots because he’d give them a true number one receiver on the depth chart. This move makes a ton of sense if you really sit down and think about it. Demaryius Thomas is there for veteran purposes, but he can’t stay healthy. He was originally released by the team then resigned because N’Keal Harry was put on IR with an ankle injury. There could still be some type of uncertainty about Josh Gordon and the demons he’s faced off the field so let’s say if he were to get into trouble again, AB is their fallback plan. As much as it may seemed as if the Patriots receiving core was intact, it really wasn’t. Julian Edelman doesn’t fit the criteria of a number one receiver because he can’t go deep. His style of play is fit to play underneath and run those small routes. This is the Patriots first true number one receiver since the Brandin Cooks days. Again, this makes sense all around if you really dive in and break down the situation.

This is such a Patriots move. They have been known to take players who have been “troubled” or have shaky reputations around the league. Let’s stroll down memory lane for a bit if I may. 2007, they acquired Randy Moss which immediately made the Patriots the favorites to win the Super Bowl. What happens? He puts together the greatest season that I’ve ever seen from a wide receiver catching 23 touchdown passes from Tom Brady. They didn’t win the big game though, but the team became the first to clinch a perfect 16-0 record. They drafted a young kid named Aaron Hernandez in the 2010 draft. Aaron had first-round potential but because of some trouble he had in college, he fell to the fourth round in the draft that year and became a vital piece to the Patriots offense. His career ended abruptly when he was arrested for the murder of Odin Lloyd. There’s Albert Haynesworth. He built up a reputation for being known as a dirty player. I remember back in 2006 when he stepped on Andre Gurode and got him on his face which resulted in a five-game suspension. You’d think it was a good move, but he ended up getting released after a sideline confrontation with an assistant coach named Pepper Johnson. Then, there was Chad OchoCinco which I didn’t see coming that year because he’s the opposite of many of the players in the Patriots locker room. The Patriots are known for staying focused on the task at hand and doing their jobs. Ocho was a colorful character that liked to talk. He had the least productive year of his career and was released by the team in 2012. Then you have Josh Gordon! Even after getting suspended again for drugs, the Patriots decided to stay in his corner. It’s something that this organization loves about players with iffy reputations about them. This makes New England even more of a favorite now to win it all again if they already weren’t.