The NFL's three-day negotiating period leading into free agency opened up at 12:00 p.m. ET on Monday and by 12:09 ESPN was already reporting that one of the Patriots biggest free agents had reached a deal elsewhere.
According to ESPN, tackle Trent Brown will be signing with the Raiders when free agency opens Wednesday afternoon, inking a deal that will make him the highest paid offensive lineman in NFL history.
Coming off his one and only season in New England after arriving via trade from the 49ers last offseason, Brown will reportedly ink a four-year deal worth $66 million that includes $36.75 million guaranteed.
This will mark the second straight offseason in which the Patriots lose their left tackle to a huge free agent contract, as Nate Solder signed a four-year deal worth $62 million to join the Giants a year ago.
Brown was brought aboard last April to fill Solder's void , and did so admirably last fall. Formerly a right tackle in San Francisco, he started all 16 regular season games and three postseason contests at left tackle for the Super Bowl champion Patriots. Now, the former seventh-round pick is cashing in on his success.
"I want to hit the lottery. Especially being a seventh-round guy," Brown said last October, looking ahead to free agency. "That's something I definitely think about. But it's not on my mind heavy at all. Like I said, I control what I can control, take it day by day and that will take care of itself when it's time if I take care of my business.
"It is what it is. Either I get it or I don't. If it's meant for me it's meant for me. God has the last say so."
Brown certainly will be getting his money in Oakland and leave a big hole on the left side of the New England line for the second year in a row. But, New England does have a possible in-house replacement at the spot in the form of 2018 first-round pick Isaiah Wynn. Though the Georgia product missed his entire rookie season with a torn Achilles, he certainly will be expected to compete for a top job in his sophomore campaign, possibly at the left tackle spot on a line that will return the rest of its starting lineup from this year's Super Bowl success.