Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown is reportedly heading to the Oakland Raiders.
Sources tell NFL Insider Adam Schefter that the Steelers have made a verbal agreement for Brown to be traded to the Raiders. The Raiders will reportedly trade a third- and fifth-round pick to the Steelers.
The Steelers spent the past two months publicly flailing, alternately leaking stories that suggested a trade hinged on getting a first-round pick, then suggesting it wouldn’t. They set a final offer deadline for Friday and then let that deadline come and go. After news conferences and statements from various levels of the organization seemingly contradicting each other, they were forced to settle for third- and fifth-round picks from the only team that seemed seriously interested in bidding for Brown throughout the entire process. After Brown’s second year in the league yielded an 1,108-yard season, the team gave the 2010 sixth-round pick a considerable raise by signing him to a five-year, $42 million extension with an $8.5 million signing bonus. The Steelers were only able to sign Brown after two seasons because he was drafted under the old CBA; had Brown been drafted after the 2010 season, the Steelers would have needed to wait for a third year before signing Brown to a deal.
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In Year 4, Brown broke out as one of the top wideouts in the league with a 1,499-yard campaign. From 2013 to ’16, Brown averaged — averaged — 120 catches, 1,578 yards and 11 touchdowns per season. Because he was under contract through the end of the 2017 season, though, the Steelers were able to pay Brown just $28.8 million over that four-year span, which is a little more than the annual average salary guys such as Robert Meachem and Laurent Robinson were getting in free agency. Raiders entered the offseason with more than $60 million in cap room, so absorbing a new deal for Brown wasn’t going to be an issue. AB’s new contract is reportedly a three-year pact worth $54.1 million with $30 million guaranteed, which is a far cry from the zero dollars and zero cents that was remaining in guarantees on his Steelers deal.
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