Recent rumors suggested that the Denver Broncos were among the teams in the chase for disgruntled Pittsburgh Steelers star Antonio Brown. However, a new tweet suggests that the Broncos might not be in the hunt for the multiple-time All-Pro wide receiver after all, despite their recent efforts to retool the roster after going 6-10 in the 2018 NFL season.
On Monday, 9News reporter Mike Klis took to Twitter to reply to a post from the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, one which suggested that the Broncos, Arizona Cardinals, and Oakland Raiders have “appeared the most intrigued” with a potential trade for Brown. Klis explained that he had spoken to a source close to Broncos general manager John Elway, then “circled back” to that same source, who told him that the team is “NOT — and [has] not been” involved in any talks for Brown. According to Klis, Denver does not see Brown as being “worth the price.”
As pointed out by Bleacher Report, rumors have gone back-and-forth regarding Antonio Brown’s potential destinations for the 2019 NFL season. Prior to Rapoport’s tweet and Klis’ response, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that the Raiders, Washington Redskins, and Tennessee Titans were among the wide receiver’s top suitors.
On the other hand, a separate report from NFL.com columnist Adam Schein published Tuesday listed the Broncos as a long shot for Brown, as Schein gave Denver a 3 percent chance of acquiring the receiver. The Raiders — who have close to $73 million in salary cap space and traded No. 1 wide receiver Amari Cooper to the Dallas Cowboys midway through the 2018 season — were ranked as the most likely team to acquire Brown. The Raiders were given a 29 percent chance of successfully trading for him.
Although the Broncos have close to $34.5 million in salary cap space to spend on new signees and trade acquisitions, Bleacher Report explained that the team could end up having much less wiggle room for these player moves if they trade for Brown, who carries a $22.165 million cap hit. Furthermore, USA Today‘s Broncos Wire pointed out that erstwhile Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco — whom Denver is set to officially acquire once the new league year kicks off on March 13 — will carry an $18.5 million hit against the Broncos’ salary cap.
Instead of trading for Brown, Bleacher Report suggested that the Broncos might plan to focus on 2018 second-round pick Courtland Sutton, who finished his rookie season with 42 receptions, 704 yards, and four receiving touchdowns. The Broncos’ receiving corps also includes veteran Emmanuel Sanders, who had 71 catches for 868 yards and four touchdowns — but also suffered a torn Achilles tendon with four games remaining in the 2018 season, per CBS Sports.