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Steelers trade Antonio Brown to Raiders: Who won, who lost?

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  • By Gregg Rosenthal
  • Around The NFL Editor
  • Published: March 10, 2019 at 12:48 a.m.
  • Updated: March 10, 2019 at 04:38 a.m.
  • 0 Likes  |  0 Comments
 
 

 

It worked.

Antonio Brown's plan to escape Pittsburgh and get a new contract came to fruition just after midnight early Sunday when the Steelers and the Oakland Raiders agreed to terms on a trade, according to NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport.

The Steelers will receive a third-round and fifth-round pick in next month's draft in exchange for one of the defining receivers of his generation. Brown will also get a reworked contract with significant new money and brand new guarantees.

Brown's new contract is for three years and $50.125M with a maximum value of $54.125M, according to Rapoport. (That's roughly $12 million more than his old contract called for.) He will receive $30.125M guaranteed, which is $30.125M more than he was due to receive from the Steelers. Brown even managed to first break the news of the deal with a fancy photoshop o

The trade ends a saga that ramped up in the days before Pittsburgh's season finale, when the Steelers benched Brown for missing practice time. A variety of entertaining interviews and trade rumors followed, with a near-deal to Buffalo on Thursday night being scuttled. Brown ultimately got what he wanted, the Raiders got a future Hall of Famer near the peak of his powers and the Steelers wound up with a lot of dead money on their salary cap.

With the first game of the season still six months away, a deal of this magnitude deserves some scorekeeping. On to the winners and losers:

Winners

 

Mr. Big Chest: It often ends ugly for Hall of Famers with their original team, but the last few months between Antonio Brown and Pittsburgh were particularly gnarly. While Brown's complaints about his quarterback and his coach will hurt his chances for a ceremonial one-day contract to retire a Steeler someday, I suspect Brown doesn't regret a word.

 

 

He wanted to play with a different quarterback, he wanted a fresh start and he wanted more money. He'll get all of that and more in Oakland. The Raiders are a lot further away from competing for a championship than the Steelers, but it's not like Brown's legacy was built on postseason success. The Steelers won a total of three playoff games in eight seasons with Brown as a starter, no matter how many passes he caught. His outrageous numbers and ability to get open in any situation is yet another reminder how difficult it is for one player to carry a team to a title. That elusive championship is less likely in Oakland and Las Vegas, but let's face it: It was unlikely regardless.

In the game of getting paid, no receiver is doing better than Brown. He made $33.79 million over the last two years with the Steelers and now gets a huge upgrade in his contract that guarantees an extra $30 million. In a league designed to limit a player's power because of nonguaranteed contracts, Brown and agent Drew Rosenhaus took on one of the NFL's most venerable franchises and won.

This entire episode -- lovingly chronicled on his Instagram Stories -- also raised Brown's profile to a new level. Like many No. 1 receivers before him, Brown wants to dominate attention like he dominates the ball. Business is booming.

Mike Mayock and Jon Gruden: Giving up only a third- and fifth-round pick for a player of Brown's caliber is a steal. While Brown's yardage was down a season ago, the tape and the numbers show he's still at the top of his game. He gets open with ease, draws attention from teammates and still has a quickness in tight areas that rivals any receiver in history. Brown will be 33 years old at the end of this deal, just in time to transition to a Vegas residency for his one-man show.

Gruden replaced Amari Cooper and two mid-round picks with Antonio Brown and a first-rounder. That's a ridiculous upgrade. Cooper is younger, but he's never been close to the same level of player Brown still was in 2018. Mayock, the new Raiders general manager, is paying Brown over the next three years roughly what the Chiefs are paying Sammy Watkins. That's another win.

Raiders receivers to be named later: For now, the Raiders' No. 2 and No. 3 receivers are Jordy Nelson and Marcell Ateman. Like much of the Raiders roster, consider those spots written in pencil.

Las Vegas season ticket holders: Brown adds an undeniable sizzle factor for the Raiders before their move to the desert. The late Al Davis enjoyed players who were liable to make news off the field and Brown should provide plenty of fodder on the strip in 2020, not to mention someone to put on season tickets.

Derek Carr: Sure, the Raiders could still get creative in a bid to draft Kyler Murray. It's more likely, however, that Carr will be throwing to Brown in 2019. The Raiders essentially didn't even have a true No. 2 receiver on the roster after trading Cooper last year, so obtaining one of the game's best No. 1 wideouts is a huge boon.

Losers

 

Kevin Colbert, Steelers general manager: Colbert swore up and down that they were comfortable holding on to Brown unless they received "significant compensation" in return. This deal tells a different story.

Trading Brown for only two mid-round picks -- at a significant cost to the team's salary cap -- shows the Steelers were ready to take the best offer possible. And there weren't many good offers to choose from, possibly because Brown only would accept going to a team ready to pay him. Brown will count as $21 million on Pittsburgh's cap this year, nearly as much as Ben Roethlisberger. Colbert now has to replace Brown's production with far less cap space to do so. Brown certainly deserves his share of blame in how his relationship with the organization deteriorated, but Colbert is the one paying for it. Usually eating anywhere near this much "dead money" only happens when teams have to cut some huge personnel mistake, not the league leader in touchdowns.

AFC West defensive backs: One trade doesn't make the Raiders a contender. But Brown's addition should make the Raiders more watchable in 2019 and a tougher team to gameplan for.

NFL Network "Free Agency Frenzy" producers: Couldn't the Steelers have waited until free agency coverage started Sunday? The Brown trade -- coming after reports of deals for Michael Bennett and Olivier Vernon on Friday --- serves as a reminder that the NFL offseason has changed in shape and scope. Big-time trades are now commonplace and teams don't even consider waiting for free agency to begin making moves. For Brown, this trade was the culmination of a plan months in the making.

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Great move for raiders. It will be shocking if brown has less than 

280 catches/3,000 yards/ 22 touchdowns 

over the next 3 years. I’d bet the over on all 3

steelers coulda held out for more, unless they were totally hampered by Brown’s demands.

interesting ending to the saga

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Carr will be cryin again when Brown brings his I'm bigger than the team act to the Raiders.

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1 minute ago, Kleckineau said:

Carr will be cryin again when Brown brings his I'm bigger than the team act to the Raiders.

Carr is going to be on the Dolphins or Redskins in two weeks. He doesn’t care

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6 minutes ago, T0mShane said:

Carr is going to be on the Dolphins or Redskins in two weeks. He doesn’t care

 
I guess Gruden may be wacked enough to do that but if he does Al Davis may come back from the dead and nut his wife in the eye with zombie splooge.

 

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The long, winding and sometimes confusing Antonio Brown trade saga ended early Sunday morning, as the Pittsburgh Steelersreportedly agreed to deal the Pro Bowl wide receiver to the Oakland Raiders, according to Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio

Florio added Brown will receive a new contract as part of the agreement that will pay out $50.125 million over the next three seasons, and that his guaranteed cash has gone from $0 to $30.125 million. ESPN's Adam Schefter added the deal could increase to $54.125 million with incentives.

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported the Raiders will send 2019 third- and fifth-round picks to the Steelers.

Pittsburgh found a new home for Brown after trade talks between the Steelers and Buffalo Bills reportedly broke down late Thursday night into early Friday morning.

Rapoport reported Thursday night that the Bills were "closing in" on a deal for Brown, but a source told Schefter that the trade was "unlikely." Bills general manager Brandon Beane then made it official that the Bills were out of the running

 

Several theories surfaced regarding why the trade didn't happen, but Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reported Brown was "unwilling" to go to Buffalo. La Canfora then called Brown's market "bleak."

Even so, the Steelers eventually found a landing spot for arguably the best wide receiver of the past decade.

There is no denying that Brown is an elite wideout. He is a seven-time Pro Bowler and four-time first-team All-Pro who has registered at least 100 catches for 1,200 yards and eight touchdowns in each of the past six seasons.

Although he finished second on the Steelers in receptions and receiving yardage to JuJu Smith-Schuster last season, he still had a strong year with 104 grabs for 1,297 yards and an NFL-best 15 touchdown receptions.

Things went sour for Brown and the Steelers leading up to Week 17 of the 2018 season. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Gerry Dulac and Ed Bouchette, Brown and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger reportedly got into an argument at practice, which resulted in Brown's skipping practice for the rest of the week and being ruled inactive for Pittsburgh's game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

 

Brown was vocal about his desire to get traded once the offseason began, and it wasn't long before it became clear the Steelers were willing to grant his request.

Last month, Brown and his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, met with Steelers owner Art Rooney II, general manager Kevin Colbert and executive Omar Khan. Schefter reported that a source told him "everyone agreed the trade will be for the best."

Brown seemed to confirm the report on Twitter:

 

Had a great meeting with Mr.Rooney today we discussed a lot of things and we cleared the air on several issues! We both agreed that it is time to move on but I’ll always have appreciation and gratitude towards the Rooney family and @steelers organization! #CallGod #Boomin

 
 
 
 

The Steelers found themselves in a difficult situation, since all of Brown's potential suitors knew Pittsburgh had little choice other than to trade him. Brown's reported refusal to report to the Bills threw another wrench into the situation, since it essentially allowed the receiver to dictate where he would go.

In the end, the Steelers reached a deal, and the Raiders have a potential future Hall of Famer as part of their receiving corps.

For Derek Carr, who saw the Raiders trade Amari Cooper to the Dallas Cowboys last season, Sunday's news will be met with open arms. Brown is the best receiver Carr will have ever played with and will give Oakland a focal point for the passing game.

The big question will be if Brown can replicate his gaudy numbers in a new offense system and away from Roethlisberger. But it's hard to imagine Oakland pulled the trigger on this trade to make Brown a glorified perimeter blocker. He should see plenty of targets in Oakland.

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Brown got what he wanted and asked, He got traded to the Raiders and they reworked his contract thanks to the free press that he got. But now he will have to perform and show Gruden and the rest of the Raider nation that he's worth the trade and money. Remember he is use to his surroundings in Pittsburgh and the mentality of playing for the playoffs. Brown doesn't know what he's getting into and he better realize Tomlin isn't his coach anymore and the talent level with the Raiders isn't like the Steelers. 

How long will it be when he throws the QB and Gruden under the bus? Lets see when he starts throwing tantrums when the ball doesn't go to him?

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Brown on the Raiders. You want it to turn out well but you just know its going to be a sad end to a great career.

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Brown was traded for a 3rd and a 5th and Mac was completely uninterested? Took the Jets out of consideration? Sorry to tell you our GM Sucks!

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1 hour ago, Butterfield said:

Amari Cooper,a 3rd and a 5th for Antonio Brown and a 1st round pick.

Looks like the raiders got the better end of those deals.

The Raiders absolutely won the day here. 

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I loved what gruden was doing up to this point.  He was rebuilding the right way.  But how does this make sense in the rebuilding plan?

 

i dont get it.

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12 minutes ago, Barry McCockinner said:

It's entirely possible Brown said he wouldn't play for the Jets.

It's also entirely possible we didn't want to pay $50m+ for three years of a potential headache receiver.

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12 minutes ago, Joe W. Namath said:

I loved what gruden was doing up to this point.  He was rebuilding the right way.  But how does this make sense in the rebuilding plan?

  

i dont get it.

He just picked up a future HOF WR for a 3rd and a 5th. Just stop.

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AB going to Raiders, thoughts- doesn’t effect jets much, glad he’s not in the division, Raiders are basically Siberia to the Jets.  Glad this weakens the Steelers if the goal is for the jets to make a run in the AFC over the life of Sams rookie contract.

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33 minutes ago, Barry McCockinner said:

The Raiders absolutely won the day here. 

The Steelers has no shot at winning this situation by letting it get this far. Brown would have never thought about doing this if it wasn’t for Bell taking a stand against their ridiculous handling of his situation.

They screwed themselves as an organization and set some really bad precedents. They are more poorly run than I even imagined. 

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2 minutes ago, Creepy Lurker said:

The Steelers has no shot at winning this situation by letting it get this far. Brown would have never thought about doing this if it wasn’t for Bell taking a stand against their ridiculous handling of his situation.

They screwed themselves as an organization and set some really bad precedents. They are more poorly run than I even imagined. 

I agree with this and this is the main reason I'm anti Bell.  I don't really care about the production. Build a dominant O line and everyone we sign will be successful.  I won't make a big deal if we sign him, but I'm not into it really.  We need to stop rewarding these guys for this type of crap. I was rooting for the Raiders to do well. Now I'll have a harder time due to this A$$hole. 

The silver lining is that this is all happening to the Steelers. I hate them  lol 

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Derek Carr: Sure, the Raiders could still get creative in a bid to draft Kyler Murray. It's more likely, however, that Carr will be throwing to Brown in 2019

 

That was my first thought, you don't do this then draft a rookie 

 

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Some Jet fans are saying “oH tHe jETs cOulD oF aFFoRdEd hIM”

nah.. I’m not cool with being left a 1st, 4th and 7th round pick in one of the deepest drafts in centuries lol.

good move for the raiders and better move for the Jets to stay out.

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Every Jets fan who thought they should  have gotten him have to hang their head in shame in being in accordance with Manish Mehta

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Just now, GREENBEAN said:

I agree with this and this is the main reason I'm anti Bell.  I don't really care about the production. Build a dominant O line and everyone we sign will be successful.  I won't make a big deal if we sign him, but I'm not into it really.  We need to stop rewarding these guys for this type of crap. I was rooting for the Raiders to do well. Now I'll have a harder time due to this A$$hole. 

The silver lining is that this is all happening to the Steelers. I hate them  lol 

It’s a great silver lining. You misunderstood my stance on Bell though. I support Bell. The Steelers wronged him. It wasn’t as 1 sided as I once thought but he was being run into the ground and they were playing games with him over guaranteed money.

Again, it wasn’t as bad as I thought where more of hi guaranteed money would have been guaranteed within like 10 days from the initial amount. Bell and Brown are apples and oranges.

The thing that the Bell situation did was show that players can take a stand if they have an issue  and get their way. Whether it’s warranted like with Bell or now unwarranted like Brown, you can control this week team. You basically can hold the Steelers hostage for any situation. 

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38 minutes ago, Joe W. Namath said:

I loved what gruden was doing up to this point.  He was rebuilding the right way.  But how does this make sense in the rebuilding plan?

 

i dont get it.

For them the move accomplishes two things, one they have 3 first round picks so they can afford the minor draft capital that it cost them for one of the games best WR.  The problem now becomes the balancing act of risk reward that comes with Brown.  The one thing that will make him happy with the raider is he "the man" there.  He had to share the spotlight a lot in Pitt with Ben, Juju, and Bell when he was there, and he consistently complained about his touches.  This is a guy with a MASSIVE ego, he wants the ball at all times and wants his numbers.  So in a lot of ways the raiders, being devoid of much talent, helps keep him satisfied.  On top of they paid him massive money.  

So with that in mind i can see why the raiders made the move thinking they can keep him from being too much of a headache.  The other major reason in play here that is being overlooked is the Raiders move to Las Vegas.  One of the biggest concerns for the Raiders organization is moving to a place with a very transient demographic and wondering if they'll be able to build a passionate fan base like they had in Oakland.  Selling season tickets to fill that stadium has been a priority since it was announced, and thats hard to do when your team has 0 stars.  Brown gives the raiders a bonafide star to market around, and if he helps salvage derek carrs career (if he's still on the team, which i have my doubts about) that helps market even more. 

 

For the jets I wont blame them at all for not making this move.  This is a young team in a transitional period in a volatile market place with extreme media scrutiny.  Adding an erratic personality like Browns to the mix would create a deadly potential to ruin whatever type of team synergy they're attempting to build here.  Also its a very worrisome mix to have a guy who demands touches and is very very vocal about it around a young QB still learning how to handle life at the position in the NFL.  I personally think it would have been a very bad move for the development of darnold in the long run to have that type of personality in his ear demanding he force feed him the ball. 

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18 minutes ago, GREENBEAN said:

For real?   The only thing that bothered me is that the Jets actually inquired about this dirtbag.   Do you not remember 3 years ago when the locker room was in complete disarray with B Marshall and friends?  Or 4 years earlier when Santonio Holmes literally quit mid game after starting a fist fight in the huddle in Miami (my son's first live game) ?  Or letting Braylon, Smith and Cotchery go to bring in Mason and Plaxico?  How did any of that work out? Why would you want to revisit any of that? 

 I am so happy this BS with AB is over. Maybe we can stop talking about this guy already. 

We were talking about the Raiders trading for Brown. You decided to bring the Jets up and talk about why you didn't want him on the Jets. You're so mad about people talking about AB to the Jets but you can't stop doing it. 🤷‍♂️

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5 minutes ago, The Gooch said:

Well,one good player is off the board for us already!

Can't tell if this is sarcasm or not 

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1 hour ago, NYJ1 said:

Brown was traded for a 3rd and a 5th and Mac was completely uninterested? Took the Jets out of consideration? Sorry to tell you our GM Sucks!

Maybe he knew that Brown was not going to play here!!! Remember he is a diva!

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