By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
UPDATE: The NFL's legal tampering period began at noon, and Trent Brown agreed to a historic four-year deal with the Raiders at 12:09. The deal makes him the highest-paid offensive lineman in history.
Tackle Trent Brown is expected to attract a free-agent market that's as big as his 6-foot-8 frame. He can't officially sign with a team until NFL free agency begins at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, but he's reportedly expected to decide soon after the "legal tampering" period begins on Monday afternoon.
Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network is reporting that Brown will choose his destiny early in the tampering window. Considering how tapped-in Rapoport sounds to the situation, maybe that decision drops right at 4:01 p.m. on Monday.
Rapoport cites the Oakland Raiders as a top contender for Brown's services. Brown is also on the Houston Texans' radar, as they attempt to bring much-needed improvement to their beleaguered O-line. Rapoport believes the Pats would love to have Brown back, but it feels inevitable that the left tackle will get offers that Bill Belichick won't come close to matching.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 11, 2019
Brown earned himself a mighty payday after an excellent season in 2018, which could be his only one with the Patriots. He seized the starting left tackle job over rookie Isaiah Wynn from the start of training camp and never looked back. Brown started all 19 games and played 97.3 percent of regular season snaps, and never missed a play in January and February for the Super Bowl LIII champions.
It appears that the Patriots will need to go in a different direction at left tackle in 2019. Their plan will include Wynn as a top contender for the starting job, but the sophomore lineman out of Georgia will be coming off a torn Achilles suffered last preseason. Expect more options at tackle to arrive via free agency and/or the draft.
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at [email protected].