Antonio Brown remains in limbo. Brown, perhaps the NFL’s most gifted wide receiver, is on the outs with the Pittsburgh Steelers and is awaiting a trade.
So, his situation has been one of the league’s most prominent offseason storylines.
Now, Peter King of NBC’s Football Morning in America, is speculating the Steelers may trade Brown as soon as this week – and that the Raiders make the most sense as his destination.
Raiders head coach Jon Gruden needs a deep threat and a No. 1 wide receiver after the trade of Amari Cooper last season, and Oakland has plenty of room under the salary cap to accommodate a new deal for Brown, as well as a wealth of draft picks in 2019 and 2020 to deal.
How big a weapon is Brown? As King notes, Brown’s average season since 2013 has been 114 receptions for 1,524 yards and 11 touchdowns. The 30-year-old hasn't lost a step after nine NFL seasons.
King says “the Raiders make the most sense” with their need and their approximately $73 million in salary-cap room.
Adds King: “If Jon Gruden is willing to re-do Brown’s contract after this season to add significant guaranteed money in 2020, Brown could be the three-/four-year weapon to key the Oakland offense.”
Brown’s reputation has taken a hit the past few months as he’s feuded with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers organization, but King says he’s watched Brown closely and sees a work ethic and drive that could fuel him to continued big production.
“I watched him at Steelers camp the last two summers work on the JUGS machine catching extra footballs long after every other receiver had left the field, doing it at times with aides pinning one arm away from his catch-radius to simulate surviving interference,” he wrote. “I’m not saying he won’t eventually find something to make him unhappy in his new surroundings, but he’ll be motivated to prove he’s still great.”
Brown could have many suitors, however. Other reports say Washington and Tennessee also are considered (with the Raiders) as front-runners to get him via trade.