After officially acquiring wide receiver Antonio Brown from the Pittsburgh Steelers via a trade on Wednesday, the Oakland Raiders held a press conference to introduce him to fans and the media. After Brown finished his short opening press conference statement, and after he answered a few questions from the media, Raiders general manager Mike Mayock was asked to explain how the trade for the wide receiver came about and how he was able to close the deal with the Steelers and only give up a third and fifth-round pick in the process.
— Oakland Raiders (@Raiders) March 13, 2019
“Well, we weren’t even in on the process until Friday,” Mayock said. “I’m not going to get into specifics, but the bottom line is I think Pittsburgh wanted a certain pick, we weren’t going to be able to get there. When that deal fell through with Buffalo, we got involved. And I’ll tell you a couple of things. I thought Kevin Colbert from Pittsburgh did a great job in getting this thing closed.”
While Mayock didn’t clarify what he said, it sounded like the Steelers probably wanted one of the three first-round draft picks the Raiders have this year as compensation on Friday and the Raiders general manager just wasn’t going to part with one of those. After Pittsburgh’s talks with the Buffalo Bills fell through Friday night, it sounds like maybe Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert and Mayock both quickly reconnected to resume talks about compensation for Brown that didn’t include any of the Raiders first-round picks, or for that matter, their second-round selection, either.
After agreeing to the compensation part of the trade, the Raiders were given permission to speak to Brown and his agent Drew Rosenaus about a possible new contract for the wide receiver. To hear Mayock tell the story, it sounds like trade almost fell apart a few times during the contract negotiation part of the trade.
“I think Drew Rosenhaus was amazing because there were some times where I wasn’t sure if we’re going to get there or not,” Mayock said. “And anytime you’ve got a high profile negotiation like this, there are points to be made by both sides and then you’ve got to get through some things. And Drew did a great job keeping this thing alive.”
During a recent sit-down with Missi Matthews of steelers.com, Colbert was asked to explain how the raiders wound up being the trading partner when it came to dealing Brown.
“Once it was known that we were in agreement that we would look into this trade, we began to not only receive calls, we made a few calls of our own on teams that we identified as potential targets for this move,” Colbert said. “And once we had discussions with several teams, we were able to get some offers. We requested that those offers be made by last Friday so that we could look at them, compare them, and ultimately decide which one we felt would be best.”
Colbert was then explain what happened after the Steelers gave the Raiders permission to speak to Brown and Rosenhaus about a new deal and if he had to wait until the two sides came to contract agreement before the deal was approved by both sides.
“Well, see, any player in the National Football League, if he gets traded, he has to show up and take a physical with his new team,” Colbert said. If he doesn’t do that, then that player reverts back to whoever traded him. And, again, we were always comfortable with the fact that Antonio, if he came back to us, I mean, he was still a significant player, that we would be fine with that. But, again, we always measured what the compensation would be if we got him versus not having the player. So, again, the two picks that we got, especially in this draft, we felt what would benefit us in the long run.”
Colbert saying that any player that gets traded needs to show up for physical before the deal is finally approved by both sides is probably the reason why Brown was in Oakland on Tuesday and planning to spend time at the Raiders facility that day. In short, it doesn’t sound like any anti-tampering rules were broken by the Raiders. The only thing that may have been broken in this Steelers trade with the raiders was Colbert’s will to stand firm and hold out for a pick higher than the third-rounder Mayock eventually gave to him in addition to a fifth-rounder. Possibly broken will and all, Colbert still seems happy with the compensation he received from the Raiders late Saturday night.
“When we were able to get a third-round pick and a fifth-round pick, particularly where those picks were, the third and fifth picks put together gives us four picks in the top 83, when we include our own third round pick,” Colbert told Matthews. “And it gives us 10 picks overall in a draft that we think it’s a draft that’s beneficial to have as many picks as you can get.”