The NFL’s new league year won’t be kicking off until next week, but rumors are already swirling around some of the league’s top prospective free agents and trade acquisitions. Wide receiver Antonio Brown falls into the latter category, on account of his much-publicized trade request in February, and the latest rumors hint that the New York Jets could be among the top favorites to acquire the disgruntled superstar from the Pittsburgh Steelers.
As cited by Bleacher Report, Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network took to Twitter on Tuesday afternoon to provide an update on the teams interested in Brown. According to Rapoport, the Jets “entered the mix” for the multiple-time All-Pro wide receiver after “[making] contact” with the Steelers and could be among the leading candidates at this point because of all the salary cap space they have.
In addition to talking about the Jets’ chances of trading for Brown, Rapoport noted that the Denver Broncos deemed his contract “too rich,” while the Oakland Raiders have “been in it the whole time.” He concluded his tweet by predicting a “fun week” before the NFL’s new league year officially begins on March 13.
Although trading for Brown could immediately upgrade any team’s wide receiver corps, Bleacher Report stressed that the 30-year-old wide receiver’s massive contract has served as an obstacle for several teams. Currently, Brown has three years remaining on the four-year, $68 million extension he signed with the Steelers in 2017.
The Jets need to surround quarterback Sam Darnold with weapons as he enters his second season. https://t.co/a5RqHZFAwn
— USA TODAY Sports (@usatodaysports) March 1, 2019
As reported on Tuesday by The Inquisitr, the Broncos, who were recently thought of as one of the teams to watch in the Antonio Brown sweepstakes, apparently had no plans of acquiring him after all, given the team’s lack of salary cap space and the belief that he wouldn’t be “worth the price.” The Jets, on the other hand, have the second-most cap space in the NFL with $99 million available, which, per Bleacher Report, would be more than enough for the team to absorb Brown’s cap hit and sign “plenty of other impact players” as free agents.
Considering that Brown played at a high level for the Steelers in 2018 and led the league with 15 receiving touchdowns, Bleacher Report predicted that he could be an especially good fit for the Jets. Despite showing flashes of brilliance, rookie quarterback Sam Darnold struggled at various points in the 2018 season, mostly due to the lack of proven receiving targets he had at his disposal. But while trading for Brown could help in Darnold’s development, the outlet cautioned that the big question at this point revolves around the players the Jets — or any other team — might need to give up in order to make the trade a reality.