Report: Steelers Anticipate At Least A First Round Pick For Antonio Brown

It isn’t known if the Raiders would be interested, but the Steelers are reportedly starting the process of exploring trade opportunities for disgruntled wide receiver Antonio Brown.

“The Steelers front office is beginning initial preparation into a potential blockbuster trade,” CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora reported on Saturday. “One that team officials anticipate includes a first-round pick.”

Whether or not they go after Brown, it is widely believed that head coach Jon Gruden will be aggressive in adding pass-catchers to the Raiders offense in 2019. Free agency probably won’t offer a lot in terms of wide receiver talent so it will probably come down to trades and/or the draft if Gruden wants to add a big-name receiver or two.

Given Brown’s status in Pittsburgh, the Steelers definitely lose a little trade leverage because teams know he has to go. But if the Raiders want Brown, they don’t have a lot of leverage, either. Everyone knows Gruden is sitting on three first-round picks and badly wants to add a game-changer at wide receiver.

The Raiders public position is that they are not in full rebuild mode after the Khalil Mack trade, but if they don’t make an aggressive move for a wide receiver or two, there is no great reason to keep a $22 million quarterback like Derek Carr on the books – especially with his trade value. Gruden has backed Carr, but he has never been particularly aggressive in denying trade rumors – at least no more convincing than he was when reports were swirling about a possible Mack trade. The fact that general manager Mike Mayock is now in the building only adds a little more mystery to Carr’s long term status with the Raiders.

Just a guess, but Oakland (or wherever the Raiders play next year) still feels like the most likely landing spot for Brown. Gruden reportedly “loves him” and Brown checks all the boxes (including age, of course) to be dynamite in Gruden’s system.

Best fit for Carr, though? Wouldn’t he be great with a big physical receiver like A.J. Green or Mike Evans? Given the option (would either be available?), who would object to either of those two?

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