When the Buffalo Bills’ attempt to trade for superstar wide receiver Antonio Brown fell through, it was widely reported that Brown vetoed the deal because he didn’t want to play in Buffalo.
In a story published Monday on ESPN.com by Jeremy Fowler and Paul Gutierrez, new details reveal that while Brown might not have wanted to suit up in Western New York, it was because the team wouldn’t redo the remaining years on his contract, and not because he didn’t like the city of Buffalo and the Bills’ organization.
According to Fowler and Gutierrez, Brown’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, engaged in conversations with Buffalo general manager Brandon Beane on March 4, one day after the Pittsburgh Steelers granted Rosenhaus permission to speak with the Bills.
Up to that point, the teams had been discussing a potential trade of the All-Pro wideout to Buffalo, with part of the package centering around the Steelers receiving Buffalo’s No. 9 overall pick, and the Bills receiving Pittsburgh’s No. 20 overall selection.
When Pittsburgh allowed Rosenhaus the chance to speak with Beane, it showed that the Steelers were satisfied with the potential return they would receive for Brown. But as soon as Rosenhaus and Beane began chatting, it became evident that the deal wouldn’t advance over one key issue.
Beane was steadfast in his vow to not redo the remaining years on Brown’s contract, a fact that was a non-starter for the wide receiver, which effectively killed any deal.
”I never spent a lot of time with the Bills on this,” said Rosenhaus in the ESPN.com issue, emphasizing that Brown’s issue with Buffalo was purely based on the status of redoing his contract, and not, as was reported, because he was unwilling to play for the Bills.
“We were never close.”
Less than a week later, Brown found his new home when the Steelers traded him to the Oakland Raiders, who quickly reworked his contract. Pittsburgh, meanwhile, was left with a diminished return (a third- and fifth-round draft pick) for the most talented wide receiver in the game and was on the hook for $21 million in dead cap space for a player no longer on the roster.
Given the amount of trash-talking Brown has done towards his former Pittsburgh teammates, and the amount of baggage he brings with him to Oakland, perhaps it was a blessing after all that a deal with Buffalo fell through.