The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Ed Bouchette has already long ago placed himself in the ‘trade Antonio Brown for a single raw, unsalted peanut’ camp. Or to be more accurate, he said, perhaps somewhat exaggeratedly, that the Pittsburgh Steelers have to trade him even if all they can get is a conditional seventh-round draft choice in 2020.
But that doesn’t mean he isn’t expecting there to be a good market for the perennial All-Pro wide receiver, who surely would have been on that list once again for the sixth consecutive year had his behavior not led to him being benched for what was basically insubordination leading into the regular season finale.
While Bouchette did say that if he were a general manager he would not give up a first-round pick for Brown, now 30, he did add that he would expect the Steelers to be able to yield at least a second- or third-round draft choice for him, placing the over-under on a second-round pick.
Short of a first-rounder or perhaps a starting player who is in his prime with a decent contract, the Steelers can’t expect to get much better than a second-rounder for brown at this point. Reportedly, it even went so far that went the team met with him to discuss his desire to be traded, they advised him to stop hurting his trade value with his behavior, lest they not be able to recoup something they can justify doing to deal for.
Brown met with team president Art Rooney II on Monday last week, after which the wide receiver made it public that both sides were on board about the plan to make an attempt to move him to another team, though the Steelers also made it clear that they were not permitting him or his agent to facilitate a trade, choosing to handle it on their own to get the best deal for themselves.
Brown has been relatively quiet since then, which is a good thing, and hopefully it will stay that way until the Steelers are able to find a willing trading partner who has something of value they are ready to part with.
And perhaps they will find that partner over the course of the next several days in Indianapolis as representatives for all 32 teams gather for the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine. While the headline will be the draft prospects, Brown will be a hot topic of conversation, for sure.
Brown expanded his own NFL record with six consecutive 100-catch seasons a year ago, leading the NFL with 15 touchdowns, which also broke his own franchise record. He has caught over 100 passes for over 1250 yards with at least nine touchdowns in every year since 2013, and his average numbers are even higher than that. The numbers he put up in 2018, a bit on the lower end overall, were done in 15 games.