It’s officially official: Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown wants out.
After what’s felt like months of buildup, the 30-year-old Brown took to Twitter on Tuesday, thanking Pittsburgh fans for a big nine years but letting them know it was time to move on. But Brown is obviously still on the Steelers’ roster, and they’re not going to simply release him, leaving them to find a potential deal to officially allow Brown to move on.
Of course, it would make sense for all 31 teams in the league to make calls on Brown, too, as he has six straight seasons of at least 100 catches, 1,200 yards, and eight touchdowns. (What an absurd run.) But the Patriots should be at the top of the list of teams interested in the 5-foot-10 receiver, too, as they enter the offseason with two receivers, only one of which was on their 53-man roster last season, signed for 2019 in Julian Edelman and Braxton Berrios.
But New England will not be considered a potential landing spot for the stud wideout, according to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, as the Patriots are among four teams the Steelers are not considering as trade partners in a deal for Brown.
They want him but cant have him. Steelers wont deal him to NE, BAL, CLE or CIN. Kinda like how Belichick wouldnt deal Jimmy G to CLE— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) February 13, 2019
This is as surprising as the Patriots not falling over themselves to trade Rob Gronkowski to Pittsburgh or an AFC East rival.
Nevertheless, the Steelers do find themselves in a massive bind with Brown, as they’re screwed by his 2019 cap hit if and when a trade comes, with a dead cap hit of $21.12 million if he’s moved before Mar. 17 or a $23.62 million dead cap hit if traded after that date.
But unfortunately (though beyond expectedly), their pain will not be New England’s gain.