It’s quite rare a hall of fame level player becomes available via trade, so rare that it’s hard to recount a few of them without naming occurrences from the late 1900’s. However, we have one of those cases on our hands now with Wide Receiver Antonio Brown. After seeing his relationship continually deteriorate with the Pittsburgh Steelers and mainly Ben Roethlisberger, an outburst occurred in week 17.
As recently as January 10th, Steelers owner Art Rooney denied the possibility of releasing him: “There’s not much we can do right now; we have time to make a decision,” Rooney said. “We’ll look at all the options. We’re not going to release him, that’s not on the table. But I will say all other options are on the table.”
With that being said let’s take a look at trade options:
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
Antonio Brown and players of the 49ers haven’t kept their affinity for each other very quiet, and I don’t think San Francisco’s front office will either. Especially Brown, this weekend Jerry Rice essentially reported that San Francisco is his preferred destination when Hall of Famer Jerry Rice said Monday during a radio interview that disgruntled Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown wants to play for the San Francisco 49ers “really bad.” Brown posted on his Instagram story Sunday an image of a FaceTime conversation with Rice, who was asked by 95.7 The Game on Monday what was discussed. Asked by the station if he got the sense Brown would want to play for the 49ers, Rice answered: “Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. He wants to come here really bad.
“He’s talking about running the hill with me — doing all that and just working out and just picking my brain. I don’t know if it’s going to happen because it’s going to be up to [coach] Kyle Shanahan and also [general manager] John Lynch, but I’m all for it if they want him to come on board” (*Per ESPN). Going into the offseason the 49ers have 46 million in cap space slotted at 11th highest in the league, leaving them no worry of trading for brown. Trading for him would account for a less than half of their cap space, here is what it would look like: If traded prior to March 17th, the deal will be 3 years, $38.9M, including cash & cap figures of $15.125M, $11.3M, & $12.5M through 2021.If traded after March 17th, the deal will be 3 years, $36.425M, including cash & cap figures of $12.625M, $11.3M, & $12.5M through 2021.*Per Spotrac. Giving a returning Jimmy Garoppolo weapons to succeed with on the offensive side, and bringing Brown in speaks for itself. San Francisco is in the best position to do so heading into the offseason.
A new coach in Kliff Kingsbury, sophomore quarterback Josh Rosen, and a in my eyes the best prospective football fit for Antonio Brown. Rebuilding the offensive line should be the Cardinals number one priority this offseason but with that comes giving josh rosen weapons. A receiving core of Antonio Brown, hopefully a returning Larry Fitzgerald, and 2nd year 2nd round pick WR Christian Kirk, and a massive bounce back candidate in running back David Johnson; would make for a very intriguing offense to say the least.
With 56 million for Arizona to work with in cap space the only issue with a Brown trade from the Cardinals perspective is how they would like to build this team. Building a defense, offensive line, and the right team around Josh Rosen is the only plan and the Cardinals need to ask themselves if a trade for Antonio Brown contributes too that.
GREEN BAY PACKERS
Aaron Rodgers experienced his worst year of his career to date this past season, and with the turnaround looming it’s interesting to see where the Packers go to improve the team this offseason. Personally I would add more to the offensive attack. Overpaying for Jimmy Graham was a big mistake, but it doesn’t hinder the Packers as much as you’d think.
The Packers have one of the best offensive lines in football, Davante Adams, and standout running back Aaron Jones. Adding Antonio Brown into the equation would create one of if not the best offenses in football. In a report by Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, the Packers are “expected to make a run at the star receiver.”