Two big names in the NFL are moving on in 2019 to their new teams. Antonio Brown was traded from the Pittsburgh Steelers to the Oakland Raiders in early March 2019. Odell Beckham Jr. was traded from the New York Giants to the Cleveland Browns in March 2019. Both wideouts have staked their claim in the league as two of the best receivers of their generation. Entering the 2019 season, both of them are now on new teams looking for a fresh start. Will Brown or Beckham have a greater impact on new uniforms?
Antonio Brown was one of the cornerstones of the Steelers offense for years. He and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger were a threatening duo when they took the field. Things went off the rails between Brown and the Steelers organization. Brown's relationship with Roethlisberger turned south in 2018 and Brown requested a trade by the offseason. The Steelers were through with Brown's behavior and traded him to Oakland in March.
Brown's new quarterback heading into 2019 is Derek Carr. The sixth-year quarterback is hoping to lead the Raiders back to the playoffs, as he did in 2016. Raiders head coach Jon Gruden is entering the second year of his ten year deal with the Raiders. Gruden could have a fun time coaching a once in a lifetime receiver like Brown.
Odell Beckham Jr. was a star from his rookie season onward with the New York Giants. He and Eli Manning made some splash plays during his time in the Big Apple. The Browns traded for Beckham in March and It made headlines in Cleveland. The transaction does not make the Browns Super Bowl contenders, but it makes the Browns a better offense. Second-year quarterback Baker Mayfield now has a truly elite wide receiver on his team.
So, which receiver is in a better position to have another elite season? When it comes to quarterbacks, Antonio Brown has the edge. Derek Carr has been to the playoffs and is more established in the AFC. Baker Mayfield is only entering his second season. So, the sample size is not equal, but for now, Carr is the better quarterback. In terms of head coaches, Brown again has the advantage. Jon Gruden has won the Super Bowl and is a respected coach. Browns head coach Freddie Kitchens is entering his first season as a head coach in the NFL. When considering the divisions they compete in, the advantage lands to Odell Beckham Jr. The AFC North is up for grabs in 2019. The Browns can truly be competitive in the division. The Raiders are in a division that had two playoff teams in 2018, the Chiefs and Chargers. It will be hard for Brown and the Raiders to compete in the AFC West.
Brown and Beckham have been terrorizing NFL secondaries for years. Now, they enter the 2019 season with new teams and new challenges. Brown can make the Raiders competitive again in the AFC West. And Beckham can strengthen Cleveland's offense with Baker Mayfield. Coming to a new team is a part of life in the NFL. Brown and Beckham need fresh starts. 2019 will be an opportunity for both to showcase just how dominant they can be.