For the second straight year, a premier skill player is trying to get out of Pittsburgh. Steelers fans were still clearing the ash from their burnt LeVeon Bell jerseys when the first rumors of Antonio Brown wanting out of the team came up. Now, it’s a full blown bonfire as the Steelers have now opened the door to letting the talented but controversial All-Pro move on.
According to some reports, the Steelers have a deal in place with a trade partner and expect the deal to come to fruition by Friday. With that in mind, the Pittsburgh night sky will probably glow right from the jersey embers numbered 84.
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) February 12, 2019
But what does this have to do with the Raiders?
The Raiders have the means and the needs to be a viable destination for the embattled star. The former sixth-round pick was constantly at odds with his teammates, especially quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. That fractured relationship has spurned a nightmare of an offseason from the Steel City. Brown has spent every opportunity to ask for a trade and trash his current team. Yes, the video is long, but it’s worth it.
Even with all of the headaches, and there’s been plenty of them, Brown is a future Hall-of-Fame wide receiver and every team in the league would benefit from having him.
First and foremost, it’s all about the money. Like elite players tend to be, Brown is expensive. According to Spotrac, Brown is carrying a $22 million cap hit next year, followed by $18 million in 2020 and $19 million in 2021. He’ll be getting paid base salaries between $11 million and $12 million.
For next season, Brown will be the fifth highest paid wide receiver in the NFL. The Raiders are sitting right now with almost $73 million in cap space. That’s well enough for the team to bring in Brown and still fill holes in the rest of the lineup.
There’s a lot of dead money the Steelers would have to eat in a trade, but that’s an issue for Pittsburgh. The Raiders have the financial books ready for a star wide receiver.
— Jets Nation (@JetsNationNYC) March 5, 2019
What to trade
Now that we’ve established that the Raiders can pay the man, the question is if they can pay the team. Even with the headaches, everything from reckless driving to calling out his quarterback in interviews, Brown is a generational talent and should cost a hefty sum.
According to Adam Schefter and ESPN, the Steelers are looking for a single first round pick. A change from their original request of a first-round pick and, “other compensation.”
The Raiders have 11 picks in the draft, including three in the first round. Their highest value picks are at Nos. 4, 24, 27 and 35 in the second round. Now, the only other teams looking at Brown as a serious option are picking in the teens. Since nobody else in the top 10 seems to be calling and the draft has a strong list of impact defenders at the top, No. 4 should be off the table.
Raiders 2019 offszn:
Sign Trey Flowers 5yrs – 85mil
Trade for AB w/ pick #35
Draft Quinnen Williams, Brian Burns, & Byron Murphy w/ R1 picks
Sign solid vet linebacker. pic.twitter.com/xV2dvqn9sv
— Brandon Sanchez (@Manchezz12) March 5, 2019
Brown at 30 years old for three high-priced years is not worth five years of a premier defensive lineman. The Raiders could make a strong offer by pairing one of their low-first-round picks with No. 35 to make an offer the Steelers can’t refuse.
Plus, there’s always late picks just to sweeten the deal. But, with the amount of draft capital the Raiders have, making a good enough offer to Pittsburgh shouldn’t be an issue.
Will he want to be there?
Will AB want to play with the Raiders? Because there’s really no point, bordering on actively stupid, to bring in Brown if he doesn’t want to be a part of the team and the culture. On the field, there are reasons for Brown to be cautious with the Raiders.
Derek Carr is a solid quarterback, but after suffering injuries in recent years there are questions about his future. Brown would be the number one pass catcher on just about every team in the league, but the gap is wide in Oakland. The #2 man on the roster is Jordy Nelson, who will be heading into his 12th season in the league, and behind him is Seth Roberts.
With those two on the other side of the field, Brown would be lined up every snap against the best defender the team has to offer. The Raiders don’t even have a running back that could draw away the cornerback’s eyes with Jalen Richard as the best runner on the team and he’s a restricted free agent.
— Benjamin Allbright (@AllbrightNFL) March 5, 2019
However, all of this could change. The team has 11 draft picks, including three in the first round, and while some would have to be used to bring Brown in, there are talented skill players that will be available deep in the draft to beef up the support system. Off the field however, that’s the best pitch the team has for Brown.
After the one-year hiatus…somewhere, but it looks like Oakland for now…he gets to be in Sin City. Las Vegas is a metropolitan that can easily attract stars, and Brown has a chance to be the first mega-star for the Las Vegas Raiders.
BREAKING: The soon-to-be Las Vegas @Raiders have finalized terms Tuesday on its final lease agreement to occupy the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. The team will play its final season in Oakland before moving to Vegas in 2020 for its inaugural Sin City run. #RaiderNation
— Sin City Sports Mockery (@SinCitySM) March 5, 2019
He also would get a dedicated owner in Mark Davis and coach in Jon Gruden. There may not be the best offense for Brown to join, but the Raiders as a whole have an infrastructure and new life that Brown can be the face of.
Updated odds for what team Antonio Brown will be on for Week 1 of the 2019 NFL regular season:
— OddsShark (@OddsShark) March 5, 2019