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Peter Joneleit / AP

In this Sept. 9, 2019, file photo, Oakland Raiders offensive tackle Trent Brown protects a gap in the offensive line during an NFL football game against the Denver Broncos, in Oakland, Calif.

The biggest domino of the Raiders’ offseason has fallen more than a week before the start of free agency.

Las Vegas has agreed to trade right tackle Trent Brown to the New England Patriots, according to an ESPN report. The Raiders will reportedly swap late-round picks with the Patriots as part of the deal.

The real benefit for Las Vegas is moving on from Brown’s massive contract, which would have paid him $14 million next season if the team decided to keep him. Brown’s return seemed possible as recently as last week when general manager Mike Mayock praised the 6-foot-8, 380-pound mauler whom he signed two years ago to anchor the offensive line.

“Trent’s whole thing is when he’s healthy, in shape and ready to go, he’s as dominant as any tackle in football and he proved that early in the 2019 season,” Mayock said. “Since then, it’s been kind of a roller coaster. Really, what he needs to do more than anything is get in the best shape of his life and come out ready to prove that he is a dominant tackle in the National Football League.”

Because of injury and a coronavirus infection, Brown appeared in only five games for the Raiders last season. His best season came with the Patriots in 2018 when he protected Tom Brady’s blindside en route to a Super Bowl victory over the Rams.

Brown’s performance that season is what set up the Raiders to sign him to a four-year, $66 million contract, the largest-ever for a tackle at the time. Brown will restructure his contract, down to one-year, $11 million, to rejoin the Patriots.

With Brown’s exit and the impending releases of guards Richie Incognito and Gabe Jackson, the Raiders have big holes along their offensive line. They’ll need to replace three starters in free agency and/or the draft with center Rodney Hudson and left tackle Kolton Miller the only players returning who sat atop the depth chart going into last season.

Case Keefer can be reached at 702-948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at twitter.com/casekeefer.

Article written by #LasVegasSun

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