Antonio Brown has made it clear to the entire world: He wants out of Pittsburgh.
Looking at the big picture, the Steelers control what his future looks like. They don’t want to trade within the division and they certainly don’t want to deal with the Patriots. There’s no real deadline for them to get a deal done, but AB is owed a $2.5M roster bonus on March 17th. If the Steelers don’t want to pay that, they’ll make a deal before then.
We still don’t know exactly what compensation Pittsburgh would want back. They somehow got a 3rd last year for troubled WR Martavis Bryant. Some reports have indicated they want a 1st-round pick but will probably have to settle for a 2nd rounder.
Here are the top 5 trade destinations for Antonio Brown.
The Raiders don’t even know where they’re going to play in 2019, but that’s a different story. The Raiders own picks 4, 24, 27, 35 and 66. They have the draft ammo and the financial flexibility to get AB. And most importantly, Derek Carr can use some legitimate weapons. There was a point last season where the Raiders WRs were Brandon Lafell, Seth Roberts, Marcell Ateman, Saeed Blacknall and Dwayne Harris. YUCK! Jon Gruden is entering the 2nd year of a 10-year deal. Last year was a disaster. Get the fans excited with a splashy move on offense.
Green Bay Packers
Originally I had the Broncos here, but a report came out that they’re not interested in Brown. So insert the Green Bay Packers. Aaron Rodgers will be back healthy next season with a new HC running the show. No more friction with Mike McCarthy. DaVante Adams is an under-the-radar superstar WR and the team is hoping to get a bounce back season from Jimmy Graham. The Packers have an extra first-round pick from the Marcus Davenport trade. They could dangle that pick to the Steelers and potentially form an offense with Rodgers-Aaron Jones-AB-Adams-Graham. Even better news for the Packers: The Steelers reportedly prefer to trade AB to an NFC team.
San Francisco 49ers
The Packers biggest competition for Brown in the NFC will likely be the 49ers. San Francisco is the place AB wants to go to. That doesn’t mean much, but the 49ers could use him. Think about an offense with Garoppolo-McKinnon-AB-Goodwin-Pettis-Kittle + a solid offensive line and Kyle Shanahan calling the plays. I mean, wow. A change of scenery for AB is needed and there’s no better place for him than San Francisco. They have the cap room to add Brown and they own four picks in the top-100. John Lynch is now entering his third offseason as GM of the 49ers. His attempted trade last season for Aqib Talib fell through. He tried to go all out and get Khalil Mack but fell short. Will this be the big trade he ends up making?
The Colts need a WR alongside TY Hilton and are set to have well over $100M in cap space. On the field, Antonio Brown would fit perfectly with TY Hilton. But talent isn’t the only thing Colts GM Chris Ballard looks at when putting together a roster. A players character is vital for Ballard and the Colts organization. Last season, the Colts were 1-5 and the team remained together and had great chemistry en-route to a postseason appearance. AB is coming off a last few months which includes a benching, a reported fight with teammates and a domestic dispute in Florida. The Colts have what it takes to get Brown and he’s a fit on the field, but I’m not so sure they want to play around with the chemistry that’s built inside the locker room.
New York Jets
At this point, the Jets just need to add weapons for Sam Darnold. They have the second most cap space in the league and have two 3rd-round picks to play with. The question at this point is if they want their young QB to have a WR who most call a “diva.” I’m not sure if the Jets want to take that risk. Also, Brown had issues with the Pittsburgh media… the New York media won’t be any easier on him. For a young team like the Jets, Brown may not exactly be the guy they want around. The free agent WR market isn’t great, so the Jets will have to at least consider AB.
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