The Buffalo Bills pursued a trade for Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown, but in the end the veteran was traded to the Oakland Raiders early Sunday. Brown leaves the Steelers with a massive cap hit and agreed to a new contract with Oakland.
The Brown saga began late in the 2018 season, when a spat with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger blew up to the point where Brown missed Pittsburgh’s final game of the season. As his negative behavior further escalated, he took it public, calling out the quarterback and the organization for the handling of the situation. Eventually, it reached a point of no return when Brown met with Steelers ownership and they agreed to trade him.
The Bills became involved in early March, inquiring about Brown, who turns 31 in July. According to differing reports, it may have reached the point in the process where compensation was finalized for the trade, but Brown nixed the idea of coming to Buffalo, once again destroying Pittsburgh’s plans.
Pittsburgh received a third- and fifth-round pick for the most talented wide receiver in the league, a sad return for them but necessary when Brown threatened retirement to force their hand. They are stuck with a $21 million dead-cap hit for a player that’s not on the roster.
Oakland, for their part, obtains a supremely talented receiver for a great value in picks, but did have to pony up some considerable money on his deal. The Raiders converted more than $30 million of his contract to guaranteed money and the total deal is worth just under $20 million per season, making him the highest paid receiver in the NFL by more than $1.75 million per season.
This really is wild. Antonio Brown skipped work, disparaged the Steelers publicly, said he wouldn't play on a contract with three years left, then got a raise of almost $20 million with $30-plus million in new guarantees on his way to a new team. Savage power play.— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) March 10, 2019