FOXBORO – The New England Patriots are adding arguably the best and most productive wide receiver in the National Football League.
Antonio Brown, who has had six years of 115 receptions, 1,500 yards and 11 TDs, will be at the Gillette Stadium facility by the time you were eating your Cheerios this morning.
Hip, hip hooray!
Not so fast.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick has a decision to make today, just hours after the Patriots buried the Pittsburgh Steelers, 33-3, in their 2019 opener. That decision will come when Brown officially signs his $15 million contract.
Welcome to Foxboro Antonio!
There is one minor detail that will be attended to. Belichick will have to release or place a current wide receiver on the injured list.
On most teams, say like the Pittsburgh Steelers, that would be easy-peazy.
With the 2019 Patriots, it’s akin to a parent having to pick which child they love the least.
The current, active core, pre-Brown signing, reads like this: Julian Edelman, Josh Gordon, Phillip Dorsett, Jakobi Meyer, Gunner Olszewski and Desmaryius Thomas.
Adding Brown means one has to go.
Meyer? Not so fast. This kid is a freebie, making the minimum, and showing signs of a being a very good NFL receiver.
Gunner? If taking some of the load off Edelman, especially as a punt returner, is important, then “No way, Jose!” He already looks better than a serviceable returner, never mind a Danny Amendola.
Thomas? The Patriots have invested several months with him, and he looks like, thanks to his size (6-foot-3, 225 pounds), he is a huge red zone threat.
Last but not least is Dorsett. He probably would be a leading candidate if not for his career performance on Sunday night – 4 targets, 4 receptions, 95 yards, 2 TDs. Tom Brady seems to like this guys … a lot.
Talk about a tough decision.
Now let’s talk about the elephant in the room. Is Brown going to accept a lesser role than he’s used to with all of this talent, minus one of the aforementioned guys on the current roster?
Will Brown accept a game with four targets and two receptions, maybe in a loss?
It seems so easy adding great players, but didn’t the Celtics have an issue after adding two all-stars to their cause?
Brady said, “We have to figure out how to make it work.”
Gordon had the game’s best catch-and-score, a 44-yard connection with Brady in which he appeared to be tackled at the 8-yard line before breaking away and scoring.
He also held onto a Brady floater in the middle of the field, taking a big hit but holding onto the ball.
“Antonio is Antonio,” said Gordon, who finished with three receptions for 74 yards. “He’s going to have to figure out his own way, just like everybody else.”
There’s more potential drama.
In seven weeks, the Patriots will be able to activate their first round pick, N’Keal Harry, a wide receiver who appears to have star qualities.
Somebody will have to go then, too.
Brown’s personality might be an issue. But the Patriots having to make a tough decision at a position it looked very good at last night will be an issue.
And solving it won’t be easy.