Tim Benz: Who looks good and bad in released Antonio Brown trade conversation
I have no idea why Antonio Brown would send out the audio that he allegedly did from his trade conversations with Drew Rosenhaus.
He sounds moronic in the process and makes some other parties look bad.
Oh, well. He apparently put it online anyway.
If you haven’t heard it yet, the audio was posted through the “Boomin’ Experience Podcast.” It’s more than seven minutes of raw back-and-forth between Brown and his agent about how trade proceedings were progressing between the Steelers and various teams.
I can’t imagine any of the teams involved, or Rosenhaus, are particularly thrilled about what likely were private conversations being made public.
But now the information is out there. At least until Brown and/or Rosenhaus claim that they aren’t the voices on the tapes, or that this tape was hacked and released against A.B.’s will.
It sure sounds like a legitimate conversation between Brown and Rosenhaus, though. So let’s figure out who comes out looking good — and bad — after this listen behind the curtain.
Who looks good?
Drew Rosenhaus: He personifies the high-powered mover and shaker, Jerry Maguire inspiration we’ve labeled him to be.
Hands in a lot of pies. Breaking it down as simply as possible so Brown can wrap his brain around what’s happening. Doing whatever his client wants him to do and assuring him things will work out well.
Yeah, he misread the Raiders’ level of interest at first saying, “I kind of get the sense that they’re fading a little bit.” Maybe that means he couldn’t have gotten more cash out of them for Brown in the end.
However, I’d say $30 million guaranteed is good enough.
The Steelers: For all the criticism the Steelers have taken this offseason for being cold, unyielding, impersonal and austere in their business practices, they sure seem willing to help Brown get out of town by executing a deal ASAP.
As Rosenhaus tells Brown: “The Steelers have been good communicators with me. We’ve talked a couple of times every day about the teams, and they know that it’s important to us.”
The Patriots: On the tape, Rosenhaus implies that New England was a leading candidate to acquire Brown, saying that he put Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert “in touch with Bill Belichick” on the morning of the taped phone call.
Knowing what we now know about Rob Gronkowski’s retirement, it looks like the Patriots were trying to gird their pass-catching corps against his loss by potentially replacing him with Brown.
They may have been hoping to turn Brown into the next Randy Moss — a troubled but wildly talented receiver with good years still to come who blossoms in Foxborough.
Not exactly a “Patriot Way” kind of guy. But he’s one that would be deadly with Tom Brady.
The Titans: Boy, for a team that hasn’t seen a double-digit win season since 2008, Brown certainly sounded intrigued at the prospect of playing in Nashville.
“The Titans have been calling around, they probably be willing to make a splash, huh?” Brown asked Rosenhaus.
And Brown seemed to buy in when Rosenhaus pumped up the notion of him being the missing link to make Marcus Mariota the NFL’s next great quarterback.
Robert Kraft: Rosenhaus gushed about the finances Kraft could bestow upon Brown. And Brown even referred to the Patriots owner as a “cool guy.”
Maybe A.B. has been so self-absorbed with his own social media activity that he has been unaware of that whole Jupiter, Fla., thing.
But, hey, despite that, Kraft must have some swag with players outside of his own locker room.
Who looks bad?
The Bills and Redskins: Within the conversation, Rosenhaus brushes aside the Redskins as a potential partner because he doesn’t think their situation is conducive enough to winning.
Also, Brown confirms all the rumors that previously existed regarding his desire to shut down a potential trade to the Bills because he wasn’t interested in playing in upstate New York.
At one point, he bluntly says to Rosenhaus, “Don’t even waste time.”
The Steelers: With so many teams in the mix, Colbert still couldn’t do better than third- and fifth-round draft choices in return?
And, to reiterate, they were willing to trade him to New England?! Are you kidding?
At least that’s what Rosenhaus says.
When he “connected” Belichick and Colbert, the conversation could’ve been 30 seconds long with Colbert demanding more compensation because … it’s the Patriots. Belichick then saying “no,” and the phones getting hung up.
But Brown and Rosenhaus sure appeared to have the Steelers over a barrel, as they had been portrayed.
The Patriots: Hey, if they were close and interested in the player, why not get the deal done?
Now, the whole world knows New England was sniffing around but couldn’t do better in terms of a contract offer, or they were unwilling to approximate Oakland’s piddly return of two mid-round draft choices.
Then again, what the Steelers demanded may have been so outlandish that Belichick couldn’t possibly do a deal.
Brown: Where to start?
• Aside from Brown’s refusal to go to the Bills — which Rosenhaus appears to echo — the player sounds like he is being led around by the nose by his agent, with no clue as to how the process works.
• Multiple times in the discussion, Brown — for whatever reason — seems hung up on the “honor” and the “respect” that it means to have first- or second-round picks go back to the Steelers in exchange for him.
“Am I going top two rounds?” he asks Rosenhaus. “I’m going at least the first two rounds.”
Why should he care? He’s getting out of the place where he doesn’t want to be and getting more money to leave. So why does his ego need to be massaged in the process via the draft return back to Pittsburgh?
If that mattered to Brown, he shouldn’t have worked so hard to put the Steelers in position of zero leverage between January and March.
And since the return was so minimal, is Brown depressed now as a result?
• Forget Ben Roethlisberger’s radio interview and Mike Tomlin’s treatment of players and Art Rooney never inviting Brown to his house. This tape proves, more than ever, that Brown forced his way out of Pittsburgh for — as Rosenhaus says — as “lucrative” of a deal as possible.
This was 100 percent about money, period. Not how he was treated in Pittsburgh.
Later, Brown even has the gall to gripe about the Steelers’ vast revenue.
“They don’t care. They’re making money,” Brown said. “This (expletive) going on. This (expletive) ain’t ever ending.”
No. With Antonio Brown involved, this (expletive) truly “ain’t ever ending.”