Antonio Brown is worth the risk for New England as they are the only team who can tame him, according to former Patriot Sebastian Vollmer.
The reigning Super Bowl champions confirmed the signing of the controversial receiver on Monday. While terms of the contract were not announced, it is reportedly an incentive-laden, one-year deal worth $15million.
The seven-time Pro Bowler was a free agent after being released by the Oakland Raiders on Saturday, bringing an end to a brief but eventful spell with the franchise.
Yet the Patriots have shown a willingness to gamble in the past when it comes to adding controversial players, including wideouts Randy Moss and Josh Gordon, who caught a touchdown pass in Sunday’s resounding 33-3 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Like Brown, Moss had an acrimonious split from Oakland but prospered in New England, including catching 23 touchdown passes from Tom Brady in 2007 as the team finished the regular season with a perfect 16-0 record, only to surprisingly lose to the New York Giants in the Super Bowl.
Offensive lineman Vollmer and Moss played alongside each other in 2009 and the former feels head coach Bill Belichick is right to take a gamble on Brown – but will not hesitate to cut him if the partnership fails to pan out.
— NFL Throwback (@nflthrowback) September 9, 2019
“I think the Patriots are the only team that can tame a player like Antonio Brown. At least for some time,” Vollmer, a second-round pick who spent his entire NFL career with New England, told Omnisport.
“The outlook of winning a Super Bowl gives players hope and they change. They fight their own nature, try not to be too emotional and let other people tell them what to do, all to have a chance to become Super Bowl champion. And then I can go my own way again.
“That’s what New England did with Randy Moss and it worked for some years – but Randy didn’t have the same character as Antonio Brown.
“It works time and time again, but not every time. And the Patriots would release him very quickly. But he is worth the risk, for less money than he would get in the open market if he hadn’t had these problems with the Raiders.
“I think the Patriots give him the best chance to be successful and on the other hand Antonio Brown gives the Patriots the chance to win another Super Bowl.”
Belichick and Brady have won six Super Bowls together and are favourites to triumph again this season – and that was before the addition of Brown to their roster.
Vollmer – who played on the successful Pats teams in 2015 and 2017 – feels the legendary coach-quarterback combination should eventually bow out together, though Brady showed in the Week 1 thrashing of the Steelers that he is still going strong at 42.
“Tom Brady is one of my best friends and I also have a good relationship with Bill. Both should end their career at the same time,” the German said of the duo.
“So there won’t be a media discussion about who was the better one but rather that this was a unique combination in a generation – and maybe unique in the whole NFL.
“I wish that both end their careers together. It’s unlikely, but I wish that as a player and a friend of both.”