Report: Steelers could have deal to trade Antonio Brown by Friday
The Pittsburgh Steelers could have a deal in place to trade All-Pro wide receiver Antonio Brown by Friday, according to a report by ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Teams that have spoken to the Steelers about a potential Antonio Brown trade have been told that a deal is expected to be in place by Friday, per league sources.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 6, 2019
NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reported that the Steelers have told interested teams to make their best offer because they expect to deal Brown “ASAP.”
Brown has publicly requested a trade from the Steelers, as well as a new contract from the team that trades for him. Brown is under contract for three more years, but the Steelers appear ready to move on from the seven-time Pro Bowl receiver who has had six consecutive 100-catch, 1,200-yard seasons.
The Steelers are seeking at least a high draft pick in exchange for Brown, and they would prefer to trade the 30-year-old Brown before March 17 when he is due to receive a $2.5 million roster bonus. If Brown is not traded by that date, the Steelers are on the hook for the bonus.
Trades cannot become official until March 13, the beginning of the new league calendar, but the parameters of a deal can be negotiated beforehand. Brown has about $39 million remaining on his existing contract, but none of that money is guaranteed, which is why he would like a new contract from his future employer.
The Steelers will carry a $21 million hit in “dead money” to their salary cap once Brown is traded.
Brown told ESPN in an extensive interview released Saturday that he expects to be traded before March 17.
“It’s pretty much what’s good for their business,” Brown said. “At this point, they don’t want the negativity held up over their head. They want to start a fresh offseason with no bad blood so their team can just focus on football, no distractions from any player so I think they’ll get it done.”
The Oakland Raiders reportedly are one of the serious suitors for Brown. Other teams mentioned in trade talks are the Washington Redskins and Tennessee Titans. The New York Jets and Arizona Cardinals also expressed interest but have withdrawn from the sweepstakes.
Brown missed practices and the walk-through before the season finale against the Cincinnati Bengals, then left at halftime when he didn’t play in the game. Brown skipped his exit interview with the Steelers and has publicly ripped team president Art Rooney II, general manager Kevin Colbert, coach Mike Tomlin and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in subsequent social-media posts and interviews on HBO and ESPN.
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Kevin Gorman contributed to this report.
Joe Rutter is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Joe by email at email@example.com or via Twitter .