The weekly Antonio Brown drama show is continuing for another week. After first being reported that he was meeting with Steelers President Art Rooney II, then turning down the meeting, it now appears that the two will actually meet next week.
Ian Rapoport of NFL Network was the first to report that Rooney has been trying to meet with Brown in an effort to clean the air. After no initial luck, Brown has now agreed to sit down with the team president.
Brown has already requested a trade, but the Steelers have yet to decide what they want to do. Next weeks meeting between Rooney and Brown will be the first step in Brown getting his trade wishes, or possibly the first step in the two sides mending a broken relationship.
If the Steelers do decide to trade Brown, which is the most likely option, the team doesn’t want to look desperate to get rid of the star receiver, as it will lower his trade value.
Brown’s agent has yet to be granted permission to seek a trade with potential suitors. With Brown due a $2.5 million roster bonus on March 17, odds are any potential trade will be done by then. Another factor that could push the trade process along quicker is the start of the NFL Scouting Combine in two weeks. The Steelers will want to know by then whether or not they need to focus on scouting a top receiver with their first-round pick.
Potential landing spots for Brown could include the San Francisco 49ers, Washington Redskins or the Oakland Raiders. Reports are that the Steelers won’t trade Brown to the Ravens, Bengals, Browns or Patriots.
The Raiders seem to be the team that would make the most sense. Jon Gruden has expressed his need for a number one receiver since the departure of Amari Cooper last season. With the Raiders having three first-round picks, they certainly have the draft capital the Steelers would be looking for. Trading away a top tier player who has no desire to play for your team and in return, a first-round pick that could be used to fill that void, the Steelers and Raiders could be exactly what each other need.
A 49ers team featuring Jimmy Garoppollo at quarterback could be just one top receiver away from having a top tier offense. With George Kittle proving to be one of the best tight ends in the league, pairing him with Brown would immediately make the two the best WR-TE duo in the league.
With Alex Smith going down to a horrific injury, the Redskins will likely need to find a new quarterback for the 2019 season. Brown can make any quarterback that Washington brings in better from day one. However, with less than $21 million in cap space, according to Spotrac, it may be hard for the Redskins to pay Brown, especially since the team has more than one void to fill if it wants to compete this upcoming season.
After next weeks meeting between Brown and Rooney, we will get a more clear idea as to where Brown will be playing football in 2019. Unless Rooney pulls off a borderline miracle, expect trade talks to ramp up immediately after the meeting.
Whatever team Brown ends up playing for next season will have to deal with the heavy baggage, both on and off-the-field, that comes with the receiver’s talent.