from NFL's Judy Battista
Deciphering what Brown is looking for is now the problem of his next team.
There is always greater tolerance for greater talent in the NFL, but Brown has now proven too toxic for two of the league's most player-friendly coaches and franchises -- not everyone would have tried everything to make this work, especially after Brown threatened Mayock -- in the space of just nine months, and that says a lot more about him than it does about them. The rapid acceleration of Brown's behavioral decline finally outpaced his physical gifts on Saturday, and that raises a question that teams have to be considering now as they weigh whether to toss this grenade into their locker room in the first week of the season.
It's entirely fair to question if Brown even wants to play football anymore and what personal factors precipitated this extraordinary meltdown. Those are delicate, difficult questions at a moment when Brown's public emotional state has swung like a pendulum. We have all gawked at the Raiders' follies with Brown, but Brown is clearly in some degree of private turmoil and that has to be addressed and not simply enabled -- by the people closest to him and, alas, by the people who hope to next benefit from his skills. All signings are just a cost-benefit analysis. Brown surely likes the trappings of the NFL, but he just threw to the wind what should have been $30 million guaranteed over what? An outdated helmet? A five-figure fine? Will any team interested in him now dare to guarantee anywhere close to that kind of money, given the on-full-display risks associated with him? Can any team expect to win when the head coach has to spend this much time managing one player? The benefits of Brown's presence are clear in any stat line. The costs are not simply reflected in the payroll. They are borne by those who have to make an entire team function. And for now, Brown simply costs too much.