4

Grading the Antonio Brown trade from Steelers to Raiders: Who won?

The Antonio Brown trade, at its core, is about money. It’s about a lot of other things — power, respect, aging and double standards all come to mind — but at the end of the day, this is a trade about money, which is why I didn’t think it was going to happen. I’m not sure there’s been a swap like this in recent memory, in which a superstar player on a veteran deal was dealt away in the prime of his career without offering his team any sort of salary-cap savings.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

In making this trade now, the Steelers are passing up the opportunity to keep one of the five best wideouts in football on their roster for $22.2 million of cap space for the opportunity to eat $21.1 million in dead money on their 2019 cap and let that guy play for somebody else. Organizations only eat that sort of dead money when they have a player commit some serious off-field discretion (Junior Galette, Ray Rice), or if they’re rebuilding and dumping underwater contracts from the previous regime (Marcell Dareus), and that’s usually over two seasons.4

As a 30-year-old receiver who led the league in touchdowns last season, Brown is none of those things. For a team regularly in contention with an aging quarterback to willingly turn 11 percent of its salary cap into dead money requires a very specific, strange set of circumstances to go wrong. To make that decision and net a pair of midround picks is potentially unprecedented.

When it only appeared the Steelers were cranky about Brown, I assumed both sides would eventually work toward a resolution, mostly because it didn’t make financial sense for the team to tie up its cap space to let Brown go somewhere else. The point where things shifted was when Brown went onto social media and indicated that he also wanted a change of scenery. It wasn’t quite Terrell Owens doing sit-ups in his driveway, but Brown’s decision to go onto Twitter and call out Ben Roethlisberger didn’t do his situation any favors.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

In the process of trying to push his way out of Pittsburgh, Brown eroded the organization’s leverage. 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.

Imagine going 12 months back in time to tell the biggest Steelers fan you know that Pittsburgh traded Brown for two midround draft picks. Heck, imagine going back six months ago and telling the biggest Steelers fan you know that they would get worked in a deal by the Raiders.