Pittsburgh Steelers star receiver Antonio Brown has demanded a trade from the only team he’s known. The wideout has felt disrespected in Pittsburgh with the contract he currently has, which makes him the second highest paid wideout in the league.
The market for the 30-year old receiver was always going to be small, his three year contract makes him extremely valuable for both the team that’s trading him…and the team that’s trading for him. Which means that the Steelers are going to ask for a lot of draft capital in return; so that tosses out half the league. Then the Steelers also need to find a team that has the available cap space while also needing a No. 1 wide receiver.
There are very few teams that meet these goals, and most of them are further away from competing for a playoff spot than Pittsburgh. Which means that they aren’t going to be very desirable landing spots for Brown.
As Rapoport’s reporting spread like wildfire, it caught the attention of the wideout. And he wasn’t super thrilled with the prospect of playing with quarterback Nathan Peterman.
He also took to Instagram to trash the City of Buffalo and say that he wouldn’t show up at all if Pittsburgh is going to trade him there. The Bills, wisely, pulled out of the trade talks because the draft picks are far more valuable than an aging wide receiver who’s just going to eat up some of their salary cap without any production.
When looking around the NFL landscape, on whom would be able to trade for Brown, that pretty much leaves the Oakland Raiders. They have a quarterback in Derek Carr that has shown flashes of brilliance, but struggled behind a bad o-line and without a true deep threat, and a lot of draft pick capital thanks to its decision to rebuild as the franchise gets ready to relocate to Las Vegas.
Brown is so confident that he’s going to be traded to the Raiders that he’s talking to people around him about it.
While getting Derek Carr a No. 1 target has to be a priority for John Gruden and his staff, the Raiders don’t appear to be in the right position in their rebuild to be going out and getting a 30-year old wide receiver that has proven to be a bit to handle when he feels like he’s not getting along with his quarterback. There are plenty of intriguing wideouts coming up through college with top end speed that could potentially benefit the franchise for a longer period of time…at a much cheaper cost.
Now I’m not talking about draft picks, Brown’s actions have driven down his own trade value while also diminishing the market, I’m talking about the cost of his contract. The wideout has made it clear that he wants more guaranteed money; which is a lot for a franchise that traded away Amari Cooper because they didn’t want to commit to a long term deal with him while they were rebuilding — side note, Cooper hasn’t had nearly the success Brown has and his contract would have been much cheaper. So going out and trading with the Steelers wouldn’t make a ton of sense if you’re honestly trying to rebuild and hit the ground running in the new city.
If Oakland is thinking about this like I am, and it’s unlikely as John Gruden has shown to be impulsive, then that leaves absolutely no other NFL franchises to work with Pittsburgh. There just isn’t anyone with the available picks and space in the salary cap.
That means Brown would stuck with the franchise he forced to put him on the trading block, and a quarterback he can’t stand. If that happens you can fully expect him to sit out the season like his former teammate Le’Veon Bell did in 2018. There’s very little left for him to prove as he’s been productive even despite his issues with his quarterback and the veteran wide receiver has made it clearly that he wants nothing to do with the franchise that drafted him.