The Pittsburgh Steelers met with Antonio Brown last week at the start of the work week. It was at that point that the organization made the determination that it was in their best interest as well as Brown’s to begin the process of facilitating a trade, essentially officially putting him on the trading block.
By Friday, General Manager Kevin Colbert said that three teams had inquired about the possibility of trading for Brown, who has been a Pro Bowler seven times in his nine-year career, and an All-Pro five times, though by all rights it should have been six, at least based purely on his on-field work.
Following Colbert’s remark about three teams showing their interest in Brown, those over at Pro Football Talk hastened to point out that with three teams making contact, that also meant that 28 teams had not made contact, and this was portrayed as a negative and a concern with regards to the Steelers’ ability to move him while gaining sufficient compensation in return.
The argument is that Brown has informally been on the trading black for virtually two months already, or at least the past six weeks, and if he were really such a desirable commodity—referring to the whole package, contract, age, behavior and all—then they would have been hearing from teams all the while; that this wasn’t the case spells trouble, in comparison to deals last year that had been agreed to already by the end of January.
The Steelers more than just about any organization, however, tend to go by things at their own pace. Colbert also said during that time that they would begin making phone calls themselves, but the reality is that the talk will really start to heat up this week as representatives from all 32 teams gather in Indianapolis at the NFL Scouting Combine.
It’s not hard to find evidence of that. just take was New York Jets beat writer Manish Mehta wrote last week about his sense of that team’s interest in Brown—a team whose top wide receiver in 2018 was Robbie Anderson.
“When you consistently miss on draft picks like the Jets have done for a long time, you need to supplement your roster with top-notch players via free agency and/or trade”, he said. “Players like Bell and Brown aren’t available very often…Smart organizations pounce on these rare opportunities”.
Writing on Wednesday, Mehta said that he didn’t believe the Jets had made contact with the Steelers yet about Brown, but added, “the smart money is that a conversation will take place in Indianapolis next week at the Scouting Combine”.
You can rest assured that a lot of similar conversations are going to be taking place. As has been the case for most of the offseason, it’s likely that Brown and the Steelers will be the most widely discussed topic of the event.