It was starting to look kind of bleak when Brown killed the possible deal with Buffalo. But then a day later, the Oakland Raiders came through. They made the Steelers a deal they can live with, so they pulled the trigger and sent superstar wide receiver Antonio Brown to the Oakland Raiders.
Now that the where question has been answered, the next one is what—as in, what kind of production is Antonio Brown going to have with the Raiders. Will he flop? Will he shine? Will he be his usual self, or will he prove the Steelers were right to get rid of him when they did?
The Raiders are obviously going to hope it is more of the same—because Brown’s status quo is pretty incredible. Over the last six years, he has averaged 114 receptions for 1524 yards and 11 touchdowns. Yeah, he is expensive, but if he can produce like that, he will be well worth his price tag.
But can he produce like that in Oakland with Derek Carr at quarterback?
If you think he can, the there is money to be made wagering on Antonio Brown’s production in 2019. BetOnline.ag has offered several prop bets related to how well Brown will do this season:
- Receiving yards: over/under 1100.5
- Receptions: over/under 95.5
- Receiving Touchdowns: over/under nine
- Will he lead the NFL in anything during the regular season?
- Neither yards or receptions -3000
- Receptions only +550
- Receiving yards only +600
- Both yards and receptions +2500
On the surface it would look like each one of his season goals should be easy to choose. He hasn’t had less than 1200 yards since 2012, which is also the last time he had fewer than 100 receptions. In four of the last five years he has had more than nine touchdowns.
As for whether he’ll lead the league in yards, receptions, or both, he has only led in both categories once (2014). He tied with Julio Jones for the league lead in receptions in 2015 (136). In 2017, he led the league in receiving yards (1533).
With the number of quality receivers and prolific passing games in the NFL today, the chance he leads in any category his first year with a new team and a quarterback not named Ben are slim. Factor in how bad the Raiders offense and Derek Carr looked last season and the ‘neither yards or receptions’ option look pretty good.
But can he hit the personal goals?
The last time a Raiders receiver had more than 1200 yards was 2002 (Jerry Rice, 1211). However, the recent past is a little more telling. Since Derek Carr has been the starting quarterback, the Raiders have only had three 1000+ yard receivers and just one 1100+ yard receiver. For the last to years, a tight end has led the team in receiving.
As for the potential for a Gruden impact—he did have one 1000+ yard receiver in each season with the Raiders (1998-2001). The same can be said for his time with the Buccaneers as well (2002-08). In fact in each of his seasons as a head coach his offense seemed to focus on one receiver much of the time.
So—can he hit those marks? He absolutely can, and Gruden’s history would seem to indicate he is going to make the most of his one star receiver. But with how bad Derek Carr looked in Gruden’s offense last year, don’t bet on it.