ALAMEDA — The 49ers couldn’t have known at the time when they traded Trent Brown to the New England Patriots they were setting the stage for history.
Brown, who met the media Wednesday after signing a four-year contract with the Raiders worth $66 million and a $36.25 million guaranteed, was traded for a third-round pick (No. 95 overall). The Patriots also got a fifth-round pick from the 49ers.
It’s the most money ever paid to an offensive lineman, coming after Brown started 16 games at left tackle for the NFL champions and had a dominant postseason.
With the 49ers, Brown played right tackle. He was a 16-game starter in 2016 and played 10 games in 2017 before being sidelined with a shoulder injury. The trade, which came after the 49ers drafted Notre Dame tackle Mike McGlinchey, came as a surprise.
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He referenced the 49ers when asked about why things clicked with the Patriots.
“I was playing pretty well when I was in San Fran, but I think what took my game to the next level was just to be in an organization who believed in me,” Brown said. “No egos. Just confidence shot through the roof. I’ve kind of felt disrespected about the trade and I wanted to prove everybody wrong.”
Brown, the largest player in the NFL at 6-foot-8 and 380 pounds, had a solid regular-season and then played at an elite level in the postseason against the Los Angeles Chargers, Kansas City Chiefs and finally the Los Angeles Rams in the Super Bowl.
“I knew I had to,” Brown said. “I was going into free agency. Knowing that it was only a select few teams playing and all eyes were on me, it was my time to shine. I took full advantage.”
General manager Mike Mayock declined to specify whether Brown would be on the left side or the right side, but said, “If you watch him in the playoffs against the Chargers, watch him against Kansas City, the bottom line is we got way better on our offensive line. Derek Carr got better. Antonio Brown got better. The whole team got better.”
Brown agreed to terms within the first 10 minutes of free agency after the Raiders came in with their staggering offer. Brown got the news from his agent, Drew Rosenhaus.
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“Drew just called me and was like, `Bro, we got an offer and it’s going to make you the highest paid lineman in NFL history,” Brown said. “Then in a year you’ll be a part of the first team to ever play in Vegas. I couldn’t turn that offer down.”
Given that Brown was a seventh-round draft pick out of Florida in 2015, the instant financial security was a little overwhelming.
“I shed a few tears — not in front of my family and Drew, but definitely that night behind closed doors,” Brown said. “Just being a seventh-rounder and being able to say that I was the highest paid offensive lineman in NFL history is a true testament to staying the course, sowing good seeds, treating people the way you want to be treated and God will definitely reap harvest 10-fold.”
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