By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
Antonio Brown wants to be traded, just not to the Buffalo Bills. Or maybe just nowhere with too much snow.
The NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport believed he had enough to report on Thursday night that the Bills and Pittsburgh Steelers were closing in on a deal for Brown, who’s still expected to be traded by Friday. Eventually, Rapoport had to walk it back and report that the deal broke down.
Now, a maddening twist. Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported the reason why the Brown trade fell through on Friday morning. Apparently, Brown himself nixed the trade by informing the Bills he wouldn’t report to them. The Bills released a statement on Twitter four minutes later, saying that the trade ultimately “didn’t make sense for either side”.
It should only get harder for the Steelers to find a taker for Brown now that the All-Pro receiver has flexed his muscles. Apparently they need to find a real contender with a quarterback Brown likes, that is also willing to start their package with a first-round pick.
Well … that second part isn’t looking good for the Steelers, either. With the list of suitors shrinking and their self-imposed deadline rapidly approaching, they’re feeling the squeeze as “several teams” wait for them to lower the asking price for Brown, according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk.
Brown reportedly made his first trade request in January, right after the Steelers’ season ended. He’s only made it tougher for the team to move him since. If the Steelers get desperate enough, they may end up unloading the disgruntled receiver for a shockingly low return.
This could invite speculation that the Patriots, who were previously reported as off limits in trade talks, may suddenly give it a shot. But Brown still costs an average of $12.975 million in cash and just over $20 million against the cap over the next three seasons. He’s 30 years old and has peppered his offseason with red flags about his commitment to football. Her certainly hasn’t looked like a pill that’s worth the side effects.
It remains possible that some team will gravitate too close to Brown’s still-elite talent to resist him. But it’s still likely that team won’t be the Patriots. Stay tuned for what looks to be a stunning trade no matter what happens.
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.