The drama surrounding the Pittsburgh Steelers and wide receiver Antonio Brown has been relatively quiet lately. If recent media reports are to be believed, it could all be over very soon. It sounds like the Steelers may be ready to give Brown what he has been asking for—a trade.
According to NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport, his sources say the Steelers have told teams to get their best offers in because they are looking to make a decision sooner rather than later. Teams have been told that the move could be made as soon as Friday.
While he may come with a ton of baggage and a massive ego, there is no denying the kind of impact a receiver like Brown can have for a team. Any team with the cap space necessary not trying to acquire him is doing their fan base a disservice.
Rumor has it that three new teams have entered the picture and that the Jets and Cardinals are out. So—where is he going to go?
According to BetOnline.ag, the odds favor the Oakland Raiders (+350) followed by the Titans (+550), Cardinals (+750), Packers (+1000), the 49ers, Colts, Browns, or Steelers (+1200), the Jets, Redskins, or Cowboys (+1400), and then the Dolphins and Broncos (+1600).
The Steelers have said they would like to move him out of the AFC if possible, making it less likely they would have to face him anytime soon unless both teams were in the Super Bowl. If they are adamant about not trading with an AFC team, that leaves the Packers, 49ers, Redskins, and Cowboys.
Green Bay could use a receiver of Brown’s caliber to work with Aaron Rodgers. But could they afford to pay Rodgers and Brown and still field a competitive team? Dallas would have salary cap issues and are more likely to stick with what they have right now, anyway. Washington is going to be a little more concerned with finding someone to throw the ball rather than catch it this offseason.
That leaves the 49ers. They have the cap space to handle Brown’s contract, and they could afford to sign him to a new one, too, if they wanted to. But can they meet the Steelers asking price without harming the team?
As much as they would rather he not remain in the AFC if the Steelers are interested in getting as much as they can for him, they may need to trade him to another AFC team. Of the ones rumored to be interested, the Oakland Raiders would be the best bet.
The Steelers want to get at least a first-round draft pick of which the Raiders have three of this year. Oakland could easily send one of them to the Steelers with a couple of late-round picks and still be able to fill a couple of holes with the other two picks.
Indianapolis has been rumored to be in the mix, but it is hard to see them sending the Steelers a better package than the Raiders (it would be something to watch Brown working with Andrew Luck, though).
More than likely, Brown will soon be wearing the Silver and Black; that is, unless someone swoops in with an offer the Steelers can’t refuse.