AFC Rumors: Brown, Crowell, Pats, Broncos

Although Joe Flacco interrupted Antonio Brown‘s run as the NFL news cycle’s offseason centerpiece, the Steelers‘ drama with their superstar wide receiver remains the league’s top storyline. After Brown’s trade request, NFL executives believe there may be a significant gap between what the Steelers want to part ways with Brown (and take on a sizable dead-money chunk) and what other teams will pay. One NFL GM believes Pittsburgh, regardless of Brown’s age (31 in July) and off-field trouble, will still want a first-rounder, Jeremy Fowler of notes. Two other high-ranking execs said, via Fowler, Brown could fetch a Day 2 draft choice, while another predicted a fourth-round pick. Collecting a third- or fourth-round pick for a four-time All-Pro, while taking on more than $20MM in dead money, would be an incredible pill for the Steelers to swallow.

One team that may want Brown may not be able to acquire him, with Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports tweeting the Steelers will not trade him to the Patriots in addition to having a predictable stance on an intra-AFC North trade.

Free agency is less than a month away, but teams are making moves in preparation. Here is the latest on this front, along with other AFC news:

  • Already pushing $100MM in cap space, the Jets may move closer to triple digits soon. They plan to release Isaiah Crowell once they agree to terms with a veteran running back, Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News notes. Such a release would clear $3MM off New York’s cap. The Jets have been the team most linked to preparing for a Le’Veon Bell run, and Mehta adds Tevin Coleman would be a nice consolation prize. While Crowell signed a three-year, $12MM deal, the Jets would only be on the hook for the remaining $2MM of his signing bonus.
  • With several free agents at wide receiver, the Patriots‘ pass-catching corps is likely to look considerably different next season. However, if Josh Gordon is somehow reinstated, Ben Volin of the Boston Globe expects the RFA to be back in New England (Twitter link). But the Patriots obviously cannot count on that happening. Additionally, the Patriots are not, in fact, paying for Gordon’s rehab. The NFLPA is doing so, Volin adds.
  • Under Ozzie Newsome, the Ravens have been known to prioritize compensatory picks. They may be ready to collect another prime end-of-round draft choice this year. Za’Darius Smith‘s free agency buzz reminds The Athletic’s Jeff Zreibec of what followed Pernell McPhee four years ago as he readied for the market. McPhee left for a big Bears offer. A contract-year wonder, Smith looks headed elsewhere, too, per Zreibec (subscription required), with the Ravens prioritizing four-time Pro Bowler C.J. Mosley and possible skill-position enhancements. Baltimore is about to lose $16MM via its Flacco trade, and it presently holds just $21MM in cap space. So adjustments will need to occur if these roster-bolstering hopes are to be realized.
  • Brandon Marshall is open to restructuring his contract to stay with the Broncos, Nicki Jhabvala of The Athletic notes (subscription required), but Denver may be set to move on after a six-season partnership. The Broncos re-signed Todd Davis last year and like 2018 fourth-round pick Josey Jewell, who started several games for an injured Marshall last season and would be a cheaper alternative. Denver would save $5MM by releasing Marshall while also being tagged with $4MM in cap charges. A Super Bowl 50 starter, Marshall played all 16 games in 2017 but missed five in both 2016 and ’18.
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15 comments on “AFC Rumors: Brown, Crowell, Pats, Broncos

  1. Thomas Bliss

    I say restructure Marshall’s contract to try and keep him as a safety net for Jewell in case he struggles as a starter next year. If Jewell seems to be fine you can trade Marshall at the deadline or let him walk next year.

  2. goldenmisfit

    If the best offer is from the patriots they should take it. Steelers won’t because they really believe they are still in competition with the patriots when the truth is the Steelers are seriously on the decline.

    • gameofdegroms

      The Steelers still have a lot of talent on the roster, and I don’t think they can be immediately written off. But in any case, trading Brown to the Pats would be a terrible look and they’re correct to slam the door on the idea.

      • TheTruth12

        They missed the playoffs with him, without him they’re the 3rd best team in their division, get the extra 1st and spend the next couple years retooling/rebuilding.

    • TheTruth12

      Completely agree, they want a 1st and there’s a good chance the Patriots would be the only team willing to give it up. Imagine telling your fan base that instead of getting a 1st you got a 3rd/4th, even if it’s the Pats. You take the best offer you get, they won’t be contenders without him and he wouldn’t extend the Patriots dynasty

      • forwhomjoshbelltolls

        Their fan base would rather get a used mouth guard from the Cardinals than a pair of first rounder from the Pats, so…

  3. bowserhound

    Literally every other 1st round pick will be better than the Pats pick.

    • hmeakem31

      No one other than the Pats might give up there pick, and I even doubt they would

    • Mack83

      Do you really think another team is going to give up a first rounder? Doubt it. I doubt NE does either, but if they did, no one else would.

  4. dust44

    I still think the 49ers 2nd rounder and a swap of thirds would get it done. Maybe a 4/5th from the 49ers and a 6th from the Steelers gets it done. That’s literally 4 spots down from the Pats first rounder. And it slots in less money to help with the cap hit to trade him. Win win in my book

  5. Connorsoxfan

    Any team with Pats connections should call up BB and ask if he’s serious about Brown. Have that team offer a 2nd/3rd rounder, and then that team sends him to NE for a 1st/2nd rounder. Who cares if the Steelers get upset? It can’t really hurt your league wide rep, and trades are so infrequent it wouldn’t even matter in the long run

  6. Guest617

    still no mention if gronk retires. the longer it goes the more I think he stays

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