The Las Vegas Raiders had quite the up and down season in 2019, but one player stood above the rest as the most disappointing offensive player.
The 2019 season was a rollercoaster ride for fans of the now Las Vegas Raiders. The team was projected by many to finish at the bottom of the AFC West. In fact, some top sites even argued that they would be the worst team in the NFL.
Despite the poor projections, fans in the Bay Area were hopeful that the team would find a way to find success. While few considered the Raiders to be a playoff team, there was a push to see the franchise post an 8-8 record to build on in 2020.
At the end of the season, the franchise fell just short of their goal with a 7-9 record. They even had a legitimate chance at a wild card playoff berth in the final weeks of the season.
One could make a reasonable argument that Jon Gruden and company could have claimed the final postseason spot had it not been for a number of disappointing players.
At the end of the day, there is one obvious player who resides at the top of this list — wide receiver Antonio Brown.
The Raiders knew they were taking a gamble when they traded a third and fifth-round pick for the disgruntled superstar. However, despite public tension that led to his dismissal from the Pittsburgh Steelers, Brown was expected to be a major part of Gruden’s offense.
And rightfully so. Brown was one of the most dangerous weapons in the NFL from 2013-2018. The star was a Pro Bowl selection during each of those seasons, with NFL First-Team All-Pro honors coming from 2014-2017.
In fact, he was able to record a staggering average of 1,524 yards and 11 touchdowns per season during the six-year stretch.
Brown was expected to be the final piece in an effort to boost the productivity of quarterback Derek Carr. For the first time in his career, Carr planned to have an elite talent to throw to.
However, fans in the Bay Area know that the Antonio Brown era in Oakland was a massive disappointment.
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The receiver had a series of odd offseason events, including a controversy with his helmet, a freak foot injury from an incident in a cryogenic chamber, and multiple outbursts with team officials. This led to Brown being cut from the team without suiting up for a single regular-season game.
To make matters worse, Brown then signed a one-year deal with the New England Patriots. Raiders fans were disgusted by the fact that they traded valuable picks to acquire the receiver, only to see him play for a different team.
Ultimately, Brown appeared in one game for New England (recording four catches, 56 yards, and a touchdown), before a public assault case led to his immediate release.
What Could Have Been
No other single player was a bigger disappointment in 2019 than Antonio Brown. In fact, one could argue that no player in the entire NFL was a bigger letdown to their team.
Had he and the Raiders managed to find a way to make the union work, the entire outlook of the franchise could be different. The All-Pro could have allowed the franchise to claim their first postseason berth since 2002.
Brown’s presence on the roster would likely have led to a career year from Carr. This could have put an end to the current controversy surrounding his status as the starting quarterback.
Despite all the frustration surrounding the failed experiment, the most painful thing are the lost possibilities. Fans will forever be forced to consider what might have been.