New England Patriots

KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI - JANUARY 20: Brian Hoyer #2 and Trent Brown #77 of the New England Patriots celebrate after defeating the Kansas City Chiefs during the AFC Championship Game at Arrowhead Stadium on January 20, 2019 in Kansas City, Missouri. The New England Patriots defeated the Kansas City Chiefs 37-31. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

But how in the world is Bill Belichick going to convince good players to take less money to play here?!

That whole narrative took a bit of a hit on Tuesday. The Patriots have re-acquired tackle Trent Brown from the Las Vegas Raiders as part of a swap of low 2022 draft picks, and also got him to restructure his contract to a one-year deal worth up to $11 million. It’s likely he never gets to that number, based on whatever incentives his contract contains. It’s also likely Brown goes right back to being the excellent starting tackle he was for the Pats in 2018.

Ultimately, by bringing Brown back and kicking Michael Onwenu inside at guard, the Patriots will pay those two, combined, far less than Joe Thuney will get by himself on the open market. It has the potential to be a classic Belichick chess vs checkers move.

Brown himself has posted several times on social media in the wake of the deal, expressing great happiness to be back with the team that made him a star and got him a paid big-time with the Raiders. Someone may have to break the bad news about Dante Scarnecchia retiring, though.

Brown also tweeted that “Money don’t mean [expletive] if you ain’t happy I swear to GOD!!” Easy to say after banking $36 million guaranteed in two seasons with the Raiders. But between off-field problems and catching COVID-19, Brown certainly didn’t have the best of times from 2019-20.

The Patriots’ top priority in the 2021 offseason remains, of course, shoring up the quarterback position. And that is likely an important piece in upgrading the talent at wide receiver and tight end. But the Brown deal shows that it’s still possible for the Patriots to attract talented players who trust Belichick can get the most out of them and set them up for another payday.

Brown is just one guy. But one is more than zero. So it’ll be interesting to see what kind of strings Belichick can pull in free agency and the trade market from here on out.

Read below for what the Brown trade means for the rest of the Patriots’ offensive line this offseason.

MORE: 11 weapons for Patriots in free agency

Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster for 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? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff and follow him on Instagram @mattydsays. You can also email him at

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