It’s been nearly three weeks since Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network first reported late on a Thursday night that the Pittsburgh Steelers were close to trading wide receiver Antonio Brown to the Buffalo Bills. By Friday morning, however, it was clear that the Steelers wouldn’t be trading Brown to the Bills and reports even started to surface that a deal never was even close to being consummated between the two teams. On Monday, Bills general manager Brandon Beane wrapped one last bow around the deal for Brown that never happened during his interview on ‘PFT Live’ ahead of the leagues annual meetings in Phoenix, Arizona.
Beane was asked on Monday by Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk to explain why the Bills attempt to trade for Brown wound up being unsuccessful and the Buffalo general manager obliged with thorough answer.
“You know, at the end of the day we just didn’t get far enough down the road,” Beane said. “You know, there’s compensation with the Steelers and then there’s compensation with the player and we were just never able to work out all sides to make that happen. And you know, honestly it had totally died down before that tweet came out, that was erroneous. So, it wasn’t like it was heating up at that point. We had stalled, you know, talks had stalled well before whatever. I think that was a Thursday night.”
Beane was then asked by Florio if there ever was a moment that week where he allowed himself to think he may actually pull the trade for Brown off.
“Yeah, you know, when you go into something and you’re talking about it and you’re negotiating with a team about a player, you do start thinking what it’s gonna look like and how this will affect your roster and what other moves you would have to make after you get that player,” Beane said. “But until you acquire them, even when you make a trade sometimes, you’re going, is the guy going to pass a physical? Is anything going to mess this thing up before he gets there? And until that’s done, you try not to get too excited about any trade.”
Finally, Beane was asked to reveal just how close the Bills were to acquiring Brown from the Steelers.
“Yeah, I mean, without getting too deep, you know, we had productive talks with Kevin Colbert with Pittsburgh. But one of the things that I made clear to Kevin early on is we would have to be comfortable with where the compensation is going to have to be with AB’s representatives and that was never, you know, something that we were even close on,” Beane said. “So, again, I had talked to Kevin originally on Tuesday, we talked a little bit on Wednesday, but really nothing had happened. And then randomly this tweet comes out of thin air at 11:40 at night and interrupted a long night of sleep.”
So, there you go. Brown’s contract demands essentially and quickly killed off any potential deal between the Steelers and Bills. As we would later find out from Oakland Raiders general manager Mike Mayock after his team had ultimately acquired Brown from the Steelers via a trade, Brown’s financial demands nearly killed that deal a few times before it was ultimately consummated.
In the end, Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert only having one team in the Raiders that was seriously in a position to trade for Brown made it hard for him to get anything more than a third and a fifth round selection in this year’s draft as compensation. Mayock reportedly let Colbert know early on that none of the three first-round draft picks and one second-round selection the Raiders possessed would be available as compensation for Brown.