The chance to acquire extra picks for the 2019 draft was the main reason the Pittsburgh Steelers traded All-Pro wide receiver Antonio Brown to the Oakland Raiders, general manager Kevin Colbert said Wednesday afternoon.
The trade was made official shortly after the new NFL calendar began at 4 p.m. The Steelers received a third- and fifth-round pick in exchange for Brown, a seven-time Pro Bowl receiver and the only player in NFL history with six consecutive 100-catch seasons.
The Steelers will have 10 picks in the April draft, including four among the top 83 selections, Colbert said in an interview with Steelers.com.
He viewed that as important “in a draft that we think is a draft that is beneficial to have as many picks as you can get.”
In addition to getting the two picks from the Raiders, the Steelers acquired a sixth-round draft choice from the Arizona Cardinals in exchange for guard Marcus Gilbert.
“We believe the compensation … can benefit our efforts to improve our team in 2019 and beyond,” Colbert said in a statement released by the team. “Antonio remains one of the best players in the National Football League. We wish Antonio all the best the rest of his career.”
Brown met with the Raiders media Wednesday in Oakland. During his introductory press conference, Brown opted not to criticize the organization that employed him for the past nine seasons. That was a departure from the previous two months when he took shots at quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, coach Mike Tomlin and Colbert.
“Pittsburgh will always be my family. Those guys gave me a chance when I was a 21-year-old kid,” Brown said. “I know Steeler Nation is having a bad day today, but there’s always love. I encourage every kid who watched me work, and was inspired by everything I’ve done. I hope I continue to be a good example and be a good role model and continue to inspire people all over.”