Steelers To Trade Antonio Brown To Raiders

Hallelujah, the great storm is over. The Steelers have agreed to trade Antonio Brown to the Raiders in exchange for a third- and fifth-round pick in this year’s draft, per Ian Rapoport of (Twitter links). The news has since been confirmed by other major outlets, but Brown himself was (fittingly) the first to break the story, having posted a Photoshopped picture of himself in a Raiders uniform and a picture of himself and Oakland QB Derek Carr at the Pro Bowl (via Scott Bair of NBC Sports Bay Area on Twitter).

RapSheet also tweets that Brown will get a new deal from the Raiders, which does not add any more time onto the three years he had remaining on his contract with the Steelers, but does make him the highest-paid receiver in the game from an AAV standpoint. Brown’s new pact with Oakland will pay him $50.125MM over the next three seasons, plus $4MM in incentives, for an AAV of $19.8MM. Plus, Brown gets $30.125MM in guarantees, and his contract with Pittsburgh had no guaranteed money left.

New Raiders GM Mike Mayock appears to have come out quite well in his first trade as the (figure)head of the Oakland front office, and the Steelers’ return has been universally panned. But as Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette observes (via Twitter), and as we have expected for some time, Brown’s erratic behavior and demand for a new contract torpedoed the Steelers’ bargaining position. Also, the fact that Pittsburgh was willing to accept such a low return suggests that the club was never going to bring Brown back and that it was more concerned about ridding itself of Brown’s antics, as Dulac tweets.

The Raiders played the long game, per Jerry McDonald of the Bay Area News Group (via Twitter). The Raiders have long coveted Brown but believed they were out of the running for him as of Wednesday. However, they did not get desperate and try to up their offer, and in the end they got their man for their price. And the fact that they did not have to add any years onto Brown’s deal to convince him to sign off on the trade makes it even more of a coup.

So the Raiders get a dynamic wideout to assist in their rebuild and their transition to Las Vegas in 2020, but what about the Steelers? The trade adds some legitimacy to the speculation that the team is trying to appease quarterback Ben Roethlisberger at all costs — perhaps to stop him from retiring — and that the relationship between Brown and Big Ben had become truly untenable. Of course, the club has an excellent track record of finding top-tier receiver talent all over the draft, and they now add a second third-round choice to their 2019 draft capital along with a fifth-rounder to replace the one they sent to Oakland last season to acquire Ryan Switzer.

However, the trade is devastating from a salary cap perspective. As ESPN’s Field Yates tweets, Brown will now count for more against the Steelers’ cap in 2019 ($21.12MM) than any other WR will count for his own team. It is a tough pill to swallow, but as with every transaction of this magnitude, the passage of time may ultimately change everyone’s perspective.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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85 comments on “Steelers To Trade Antonio Brown To Raiders

  1. magoo

    What was David Carr doing at the Pro-Bowl? How did he get a field pass?

  2. mattcubs

    I think paying Khalil Mack and keeping their draft picks would have been money better spent.

    • imindless

      Honestly disagree, mack didnt want to be on raiders…he was offered the same dollars he ended up with but wanted to hit free agency. At that point to get 2 first rounders was a huge win, then to essentially trade cooper for a 3rd and 5th for ab and a another 1st is even better. Those prospect add more cheap value to a raiders squad that needs depth badly. In addition they can sign a player like ziggy ansah or anthony barr (who had 24 sacks in college) to replicate some of what they lost in mack. They werent going to win with macks deal or coopers and pulled the plug. Bears will be crippled in a few years when the rest of there youth need new deals.

      • gammaraze

        It’s disingenuous to look at it as trading Cooper, a 3rd, and 5th for AB and a 1st. When the Raiders traded Cooper, it was before AB and the Steelers had problems. There’s no correlation between the two and the Raiders had no idea that 1) AB would be available, and 2) he would come so cheaply. The question we should all be asking is how did no one pony up a 2nd?

        • Munsonmanor4

          On top of that, the Steelers fleeced the Raiders last season by getting a 3rd for Martavis Bryant. How many catches did Bryant have last year for the Raiders? Anyone?

  3. diller1340

    Wow raiders got Brown and STILL have 5 first round picks in the next 2 drafts

  4. Dark14ry

    Brown, 5 1st round picks and they still suck and wont make the playoffs anytime soon.

    • Five first round picks on rookie salaries (not counting the second round picks) is a lot of firepower for cheap. There’s light at the end of the tunnel for 2020-2022 years. This year will probably be mid-tier (6-10) type season but with real possibilities for 2020.

      It looks like there is method to the madness. A Super Bowl win or appearance really takes a five year plan at this point, something neither the Washington Redskins nor the Denver Broncos appear to have figured out.

      • markburgh

        We will see how him and gruden get along wont be happy campers like tomlin

      • crosseyedlemon

        Broncos have won 11 of the last 15 against the Raiders and the Redskins have won 4 of the last 5 meetings. I doubt they are losing any sleep worrying about the Raiders getting to a SB before them.

  5. The Ghost of Bobby Bonilla

    So, it was all about the money after all?

    Nice to see that guys will wreck their team and act like spoiled children immediately after getting paid a signing bonus because they are butt hurt that somebody else got a bigger contract.

    This (along with rigged officiating, kneelers, and roided up players that can’t piece together a coherent sentence) is yet another reason the NFL is a joke.

    • troll_smasher

      So, what was all the retirement talk from Ben about? Now he about sign a mega extension. Lemme guess, you have no problem with it being “all about the money@ when it comes to him. They’ve wasted 2 picks on QB’s over the last couple years b/c of his posture, but there’s nothing to see there, right?

    • forwhomjoshbelltolls

      Don’t forget, while AB was locked into a very team friendly deal, he demanded a new one year after year. The team wouldn’t do it because they have a policy against reworking deals that have multiple years left on them.

      BUT, they gave him extra money in each of those years until they reworked his deal, making him the highest paid WR in the league. He pocketed between $5-9 million that they gave him just to keep him happy with no obligation to give it to him.

      So, even though he was already signed, instead of forcing him to honor that deal, they gave him millions of dollars extra each year until finally reworking his deal.

      And this is their thanks.

      Have fun, Chucky.

      • keyser_soze

        Are you really making “honoring your deal” a point of emphasis in your argument? Take a look at the transactions on THIS site alone and see how many players have been cut, with 2-3 years STILL left on their deals. He should’ve kept getting extra money, because he kept outperforming his contract. Hypocrisy at its finest.

        • forwhomjoshbelltolls

          Except you are proving my point. The Steelers showed a RARE and UNIQUE sense of loyalty and fairness to him, as opposed to how most players are treated, and it still meant nothing to him.

          Then again, good feelings don’t pay your entourage, so…

          • keyser_soze

            You mean his personal chef/Trainer, physical therapist, etc? The ones who keep his body in tip top shape? Keep reaching, man. He’s gone now, so don’t be so Salty

  6. slpdajab55

    For the record .. they didn’t get a first round pick. For all AB cronies out there who insisted they would. Good luck AB … I think you will settle in nicely somewhere between 18 and 25 in the WR rankings. Good luck with that ! Enjoy the green grass !

  7. crosseyedlemon

    This deal would have been so much better if the Raiders were scheduled to play in Pittsburgh this season.

  8. melonman2333

    Oakland has three first round picks. Pittsburgh did not want to ask for any of that?

    • Michael Chaney

      Have you never negotiated before? I could ask my college for free tuition, but that doesn’t mean I’m getting it.

      • skrockij89

        My tuition was free and got free housing allowance. Thank you GI Bill!

    • keyser_soze

      They’ll draft/sign another JuJu to take advantage of the single coverage opposite AB. WE’ll see

  9. forwhomjoshbelltolls

    Colbert has been criticized for some dumb things in this situation (particularly his innocuous “kids” comment) but he deserves tons of it for Mr. Big Chest’s contract structure.

    $21 million in dead cap space is malfeasance.

    The return is fine. When a doctor cuts out a tumor, you don’t demand the doctor give you top dollar for it.

    It’s weird when the doctor then surgically implants the tumor into his own body, but…

    Have fun, Chucky.

    • troll_smasher

      Or when the doctor cuts out little tumor in midsection, but can’t get to the tumor on the on the brain out of fear death.

      So the most dangerous tumor it’s STILL on brain and it’s still affecting everything around it, even the 52 kids in the locker room.

      • slpdajab55

        Can’t argue that either. But at least it’s 1 less tumor as they were both team altering.

  10. driftcat28

    This won’t work out. Gruden is a clown and has no idea what he’s doing as a head coach. Bold prediction: Brown will last 2 seasons tops, in Oakland. Be traded to New England, and help Brady win what will be his last ring.

    • Polish Hammer

      No, they are the math equation of


      Where his baggage (contract demands and diva attitude) reflects so negatively that you can only pull a crappy 3rd and 5th in return. That’s gotta hurt his precious ego so much knowing they took so little in value just to rid the cancer he has become.

        • Polish Hammer

          One everyone wants to play with and the other just dealt away as damaged goods…

          • troll_smasher

            Speaking of Damaged goods?? Wentz has missed more games in ONE season than AB has missed in 9 yrs. nobody wants to play with a guy who plays favorites with the TE. Keep dreaming though. Nothing wrong with it.

      • Nolenabs83

        Hurt his ego? He just strong armed the entire Steeler organization!!! He definitely came out ahead, got a fat bag of money, and sabotaged the Steelers return

  11. graysondecker

    Who’d have thought that the same team that gifted the Steelers a third-round pick for a player they were going to cut anyways (Martavis Bryant) would get a star player one year later for basically the same price? It’s a bit of a joke really. It goes to show how much Brown really screwed the Steelers by destroying his trade value

  12. leprechaun

    Why would cap go against Steelers it should go against Raiders. That needs to be changed in the next player agreement

    • crosseyedlemon

      Teams lock players into long term contracts for the simple reason that it saves them from escalating market values that occur each year. If they decide they no longer want that favorable arrangement they absorb the dead money as an alternative. There is nothing unfair in that. You can’t have your cake and eat it too.

  13. Cosmodogs

    Who knew Dan Rooney’s passing would be the death knoll for that once historic franchise. Their strong organizational makeup is what separated them from the Browns. To get absolutely zilch for one of the best WR’s in the NFL, and having to pay $21m for the pleasure of getting bent over, is as bad a deal as you will ever see. They would have been better off holding on to AB and forcing his hand, since it would have actually saved them $ this year. At this point, Pittsburgh should just trade Big Ben and start anew while he still has value. They are officially a non contender and in the grouping with the other NFL laughing stocks.

    • crosseyedlemon

      It’s the Steeler’s archaic culture that created the problem with Bell and Brown. Forcing players hands is a doomed strategy. The Patriots built a dynasty by treating their players fairly and with respect. The only solution for Pittsburgh is to learn from that example.

    • bencole

      We didn’t agree on much the other day, I’m mostly with you here though.

  14. 2012orioles

    Sad it ended like this, but I’ll miss Antonio and hope the best for him

    • troll_smasher

      Finally! A fan that doesn’t wish Ill will towards the guy. RESPECT. It was the best thing for BOTH parties.

      • Cosmodogs

        That is not best for both parties. AB won BIG and going way. He got what he really wanted the most, more $. Pittsburgh lost one of the best WR’s in the league and got the pleasure of paying $21m for doing it. Pittsburgh is a HUGE loser in this scenario and it is not even close. It is debatable whether the commissioner’s office should even allow a trade this bad.

    • Polish Hammer

      Have you ever performed outdoors in Buffalo in the winter? Oakland wins by default.

      • Louie Proudpoppa

        Yeah, but you don’t get murdered getting a slim Jim in buffalo at 10pm

        • Polish Hammer

          Only because it’s so cold nobody runs out for anything after sundown it alone a Slim Jim…but I hear why you’re saying…

  15. maisey21

    Ju ju and Washington outside. Ryan in the slot. McDonald TE. I LIKE IT

    • troll_smasher

      JuJu double covered on the outside. Hope he does better than the Cincy game

    • Cosmodogs

      I have no dog in this fight, but, while, Washington MAY develop, he looked like crap last year, and Ryan is a punt returner. Pittsburgh’s offense just got dramatically worse, and their defense still has little pass rush and a crap secondary.

        • Cosmodogs

          I know, but that is a scewed stat. Pitt’s DL is good, but they have one DECENT pass rusher in TJ Watt. That’s it. Blitzing all the time to make up for it just exposes other issues. Go to PFF and find even one defensive player who graded out as a top notch pass rusher.

        • burtgummer1

          Leading the NFL in sacks means nothing when you can’t even make the playoffs
          Steelers aren’t even relevant anymore

          • troll_smasher

            Leading the league on sacks means that you had a pass rush, which is what my comment responded to. You need a bigger truck to move the goal posts again?

  16. steelerbravenation

    Everybody that is crying bout the salary cap consequences really need to take the time to learn the salary cap rules before posting

  17. Z-A

    Better than any 3rd or 5th round WR they would take. Better than any FA available. Better than paying Amari and not having an extra 1st round pick. End Carr trade speculation. Win all around for Gruden. Steelers suck more now.

  18. oneiblnd

    Has got to be the worst trade if all time. Forget the fact the Steelers only got a 3

  19. BoSoxWin

    Where are all the Steelers stooges who said “no way they trade AB without getting a 1st Round pick”? As many of us said, there was. I way Pitt was getting a 1st round pick for this guy. I think Pitt did quite well getting a 3rd & 5th for him. Now they need to swallow the cap hit this year and plan for 2020 as 2019 will be a lost season in Pitt.

    • Z-A

      They didnt get a 1st bc of the contract. If it was his existing contract maybe they get more compensation.

  20. forwhomjoshbelltolls

    Did the Steelers ever win with Big Chest or Bell? No.

    Were they going to win in the future with Big Chest or Bell? No.

    Will the Steelers win in the future without Big Chest or Bell? Who knows, but their odds haven’t changed at all.

    And, if they had that $21 million in cap space, they’d be a better team next year, most likely.

    The Pats prove most years that you win with “team first” players. The Steelers have proven year after year that you can’t win with “me first” players.

  21. imindless

    Steelers could have done the right thing and paid the man what he was worth. But comments from managment and big ben seemed to belittle brown and his efforts as a player. So it became browns mission to show the steelers and everyone else what he can really do. Big ben is just as big a cancer with a patchy background people cant seem to remember (raping 2 women) I expect brown to thrive and the raiders to improve. All the hate on here about raiders not doing anything is non sense A. Have 60 million in cap space B. Have 5 first rounders between this year and next. Meaning the roster will look different between now and next year.

    • theeterps

      The Steelers just extended him two seasons ago. I look forward to you wanting the Raiders to voluntarily add even more money to his deal in 2021.

  22. goldenmisfit

    The biggest cancer in that Steelers locker room is Ben Roethlisberger. It seems he has an issue with any player making big money. My opinion is he pushes these guys out of town so when he goes for his extension this off-season he can get the money the Steelers would have been paying those guys. Team leader? Not even close! Brown will thrive in Gruden’s offense the offense of mind of Gruden and Antonio Brown is going to be like a hand to a glove. Also, anyone who really thinks the Raiders to continue to stink or flat out delusional. Over 60 million in salary space this coming off-season also they have a grand total of five you heard me right first round draft picks over the next two seasons. When this team rolls into Sin City in 2020 they will look completely different.

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