Former Patriot Trent Brown will reportedly sign a 4-year, $66 million deal to become the new starting left tackle for the Oakland Raiders in free agency.
When we examined the many notable names amongst the New England Patriots‘ unrestricted free agent class this offseason, Trent Brown was listed as the second-highest priority for the team to try and retain (behind defensive end Trey Flowers). Unfortunately, it appears that the Patriots now stand to lose Brown to the Oakland Raiders when free agency officially begins on Wednesday.
According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the Raiders plan to sign Brown to a 4-year, $66 million deal to become the team’s new starting left tackle. The move will presumably shift former first-round pick Kolton Miller to the right side, although Brown has previously played on both ends of the offensive line and does offer some valuable versatility in that department.
Reportedly, $36.75 million of the $66 million is fully-guaranteed. The average per year value of the contract will make Brown the NFL’s highest-paid tackle – assuming no other new contracts are awarded before the start of the 2019 season.
This is the second straight year that the Patriots have lost their starting left tackle in free agency. In 2018, Nate Solder left New England after seven years with the team, signing a 4-year, $62 million contract with the New York Giants, $35 million of which was guaranteed. At the time, the terms of that deal made Solder the highest-paid offensive lineman in the league.
For the Patriots, losing Brown represents yet another significant hurdle the team must now overcome this offseason. The obvious answer for finding his replacement depends on the health of last year’s first-round draft pick, Isaiah Wynn, who tore his Achilles and missed the entire 2018 season.
If Wynn is fully-recovered from the injury and can step in ably as Tom Brady’s blindside protector, then the Patriots might not miss a beat, and the blow of Brown’s departure is significantly softened. If he struggles at all, the team might be forced to explore other options via trade.
Whatever their thinking is of Wynn and his readiness, it might make sense for New England to explore adding an option or two in free agency just for insurance purposes. Similar to what Bill Belichick did this time last year in renting Brown’s services for a season as a low-cost, low-risk/high-reward veteran presence at an important roster position, the Patriots should start combing through options around the NFL now if they haven’t started already.