The Pittsburgh Steelers are parting ways with Antonio Brown. The Raiders agreed to trade a third round and fifth round draft pick for the star wide receiver, which, at first blush, seems like a pittance. The trade isn’t a done deal until the start of the new league year on Wednesday, but Brown confirmed the move via Instagram photoshop on Saturday.
Brown made it clear in recent months that he had no interest in playing for Pittsburgh, though he had three years remaining on his contract. He sat out the team’s final game of the season due to a dispute with Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, and his frustrations with the organization had reportedly been brewing throughout the season.
Whether disgruntled, partially gruntled, or pleasantly gruntled, Brown is still one of the best wide receivers of all time.
It may prove to be a shrewd bit of business for the Raiders, who have been anything but astute since they signed head coach Jon Gruden to a 10-year deal last offseason. Last year, the team traded a third round pick to the Steelers for receiver Martavis Bryant, who Oakland wound up cutting before the season even began. That they were able to get an all-time great player from the same team for just a teensy bit more is a testament to how bizarre the NFL trade market can be.
The move is good news for Brown, and not just because he was so desperate to leave Pittsburgh. His Raiders contract provides him with a large sum of guaranteed money, whereas his Steelers deal guaranteed zilch.
Is it peculiar that the Raiders traded away 24-year-old receiver Amari Cooper last season but are committing long-term to Brown, who is 31? Perhaps! And is it odd that they didn’t want to pony up the cash for Khalil Mack even though Mack is younger and plays a more in-demand position? Maybe! But none of that matters now. The Raiders will have one of the best players in the NFL suiting up for them next season, though it’s not entirely clear where Brown will be playing those home games.
Due to construction delays, the Raiders’ new Las Vegas stadium won’t be ready in time for the 2019 NFL regular season. The organization appeared to have a deal in place to play at the Oakland Coliseum for one more year, but a “significant” tax issue with the city has put that agreement in jeopardy. The two sides have until Tuesday to solve the problem. If only home stadiums were as easy to find as legendary wide receivers.