New England Patriots

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - DECEMBER 23: Antonio Brown of the Pittsburgh Steelers celebrates a touchdown during the second half against the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – DECEMBER 23: Antonio Brown of the Pittsburgh Steelers celebrates a touchdown during the second half against the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com

The Steelers originally had the Patriots off limits in Antonio Brown trade talks. Understandable. But apparently, Pittsburgh got so desperate to jettison the All-Pro receiver that they considered the possibility of shipping him to New England.

That’s only if you believe his agent, Drew Rosenhaus. As revealed in new behind-the-scenes audio from before the Steelers traded Brown to the Raiders, Rosenhaus says the Steelers allowed the Patriots to the table at one point. You can read all of Rosenhaus’ Patriots-related comments via Nick Goss at NBC Sports Boston, and hear the audio in the premiere episode of Brown’s new podcast, “The Boomin Experience”.

Apparently, Rosenhaus convinced the Steelers to consider the Patriots because Brown placed a premium on playing in a winning environment. That doesn’t exactly jibe with choosing the Raiders, but maybe he puts a lot of stock into that Super Bowl Jon Gruden won 16 years ago. Ostensibly, the idea of playing for another championship contender put the Patriots in the mix.

“That’s a good development for us. They’re now willing to trade you to New England,” Rosenhaus said at the time. “So, now it’s a process of New England stepping up. That’s not great business for the Steelers to trade you to the world champs in the same conference.”

PITTSBURGH, PA – DECEMBER 16: Antonio Brown #84 of the Pittsburgh Steelers reacts after a 17 yard touchdown reception in the first quarter during the game against the New England Patriots at Heinz Field on December 16, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

As Rosenhaus added, the Steelers trading one of the most dynamic weapons in the NFL to the Patriots would have required an overpay from Bill Belichick. The ol’ Godfather offer. So it’s still unrealistic that Steelers GM Kevin Colbert seriously considered whatever Belichick may have proposed.

Assuming Rosenhaus wasn’t competing with an incinerator to see who can blow the most smoke, it’s noteworthy that Belichick made this much of an effort to try and bring Brown to New England. With the decline and subsequent retirement of Rob Gronkowski, the Patriots offense no longer has that kind of elite big-play threat. Julian Edelman is the engine and heartbeat of the offense, but ideally the Pats can pair him with another big-time weapon.

Of course, trading a first-round pick for a dynamic receiver wouldn’t be unprecedented for Belichick after the Pats got Brandin Cooks from the Saints two years ago. So it’s worth continuing to be patient, at least until after the NFL Draft, to see if Belichick has a different move stuffed way up those cut-off sleeves.

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 matthew.dolloff@bbgi.com.