The Las Vegas Raiders have traded offensive tackle Trent Brown and a 2022 seventh-round pick to the New England Patriots for a fifth-rounder in 2022 after Brown and the Pats agreed to a restructured one-year deal worth up to $11 million, sources told ESPN’s Field Yates.
The pact won’t become official until the official start of the new league year on March 17th, however.
Brown previously played one season for the Patriots in 2018, starting every game at left tackle as the group went on to win the Super Bowl. Brown seemed happy to be returning to the scene of his greatest success, posting a photo of himself celebrating during that Super Bowl parade in 2019 with the caption: “I LOVE IT HERE !!”
The move frees up a good chunk of salary cap space for the Raiders—$14 million, to be exact—who were struggling with just over $3 million in space before this deal, according to OverTheCap.com. The Pats were in the opposite position, more than willing to take on the high risk, high reward Brown on a reduced salary that is a drop in the bucket for them and their approximately $66 million in cap space.
This is a solid deal for both sides, as the Raiders get themselves some breathing room to improve the roster by unloading a guy who didn’t seem to want to be there, and the Patriots get a very talented 27-year-old offensive lineman to help smooth over this post-Brady transition after a rocky 2020 season.
The deal does not, however, move the needle much for either team, neither of which is expected to make any noise in the playoffs next season, with the Patriots and Raiders odds to win the Super Bowl sitting at 19th (+4,000 NFL odds) and 22nd (+5,000), respectively, on 888sport’s odds table. The fact that the two teams that played in last season’s AFC Championship Game emerged from the same divisions as this pair doesn’t help their chances either.
Brown was drafted in the seventh round out of Florida by the San Francisco 49ers back in 2015, eventually working his way up to become a key cog in the Niners’ offensive line in 2016 and 2017, starting all 26 games he played in. During the offseason that followed, New England came calling and acquired Brown and a fifth round pick in exchange for a third-rounder.
His impressive season with the Super Bowl champs along with his unique blend of mobility and size (6’8”, 380 lbs) allowed him to cash in with the Raiders the next offseason, signing a four-year, $66 million contract in March of 2019. Though he played well enough to earn his first Pro Bowl nod in his debut season with the Raiders, he missed the final five games of and finished on the injured reserve.
2020 was a much tougher year for Brown as the Bastrop, Texas native was on and off the COVID list several times throughout the season, only managing to play four full games. Raiders general manager Mike Mayock seemed to be sending out a challenge to Brown when he spoke about the offensive lineman last week.
“Trent’s whole thing is when he’s healthy, in shape and ready to go, he’s as dominant as any tackle in football,” Mayock said. “He proved that early in the 2019 season. Since then, it’s kind of been a roller coaster. So really what he needs to do more than anything is get himself in the best shape of his life and come out and prove that he is a dominant tackle in the National Football League.”
The move also allows the Patriots some flexibility in terms of how they deal with the rest of their offensive line because of Brown’s versatility in being able to play both right and left tackle. This could mean that New England decides Marcus Cannon, who was one of many Patriots who opted out of last season, is expendable, especially considering they could save $6.3 million if they cut him.
This also all but confirms that starting left guard Joe Thuney will not be getting the franchise tag for the second straight year, though it was always a long shot considering it would have cost the team $17.7 million. Thuney is now free to test the open waters of free agency.
New England’s starting left tackle Isaiah Wynn has also been quite injury prone through his first three seasons, so Brown adds depth and a backup option there if worst comes to worst. Wynn could also slide inside and take on Thuney’s old role if the Pats decided they prefer to slot Brown in as the starting left tackle like they did in 2018.