Do The Steelers Really Have Big Trade Interest In Antonio Brown?

The Steelers are up against the clock. With Antonio Brown’s $2.5 million roster bonus due on the 17th of March, Pittsburgh essentially has 12 days to figure out where to place their disgruntled wideout. According to an ESPN report last week, the Steelers have dropped their asking price to a first-round pick, but so far they still have Brown and still don’t have a first-round pick.

The Raiders are the team most seem to believe is most interested in Brown, but if they were willing to give up a first-round pick, the deal would probably have been done by now. The Raiders competition for Brown was initially reported to be Tennessee and Washington, but both have mid first-round picks and obviously aren’t interested in offering a pick that high. NFL Network reported that the Saints are in the mix, but they don’t have a pick in the first round of the draft and their second-round pick is well behind the Raiders.

It’s notable that once Tennessee and Washington dropped out of the conversation, the perfect two teams to leverage against the Raiders popped up out of nowhere – the Broncos and Cardinals. The Broncos are in the Raiders division and the Cardinals are one of the few teams that hold a pick between the Raiders last pick in the first round (27) and their only pick in the second round (35). The Broncos are not desperate for a receiver and their first-round pick is way too high to offer for Brown. Not surprisingly, their reported interest was shot down within hours of being linked to a potential trade for Brown.

As for the Cardinals, they are one of only seven teams that pick between the Raiders 27th and 35th pick – and more importantly, probably the only team among those seven teams that the Steelers could expect anyone to believe would be interested in Brown.

From the outside, it certainly looks like the Steelers are trying to drum up a stronger market for Brown than what actually exists. The fact that new teams keep popping up as interested in Brown while previously linked teams keep falling by the wayside seems to suggest that the Raiders are only bidding against themselves – at least in terms of giving up a first-round pick for Brown.

Maybe Pittsburgh will end up getting a first-round pick for AB, but right now the better bet, in my opinion, is that they won’t. Listen to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport on Tuesday morning and if the Raiders have to give up more than a second-round pick for Brown, it’ll be a surprise.

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