The race to land Antonio Brown may have a new contestant.
For weeks, rumors have circulated about where the All-Pro wide receiver will land once he is traded from the Pittsburgh Steelers. The race appeared to be down to just a few teams — with most NFL reporters saying the Raiders, Redskins, and Titans had been showing the most interest — but a new report from Bleacher Report noted that the Philadelphia Eagles have jumped into the mix.
It was not clear how serious the Eagles were about trading for Brown, but the report noted that he could be a good fit for an already top-flight receiving corps.
“Brown would give the Eagles a top-tier receiving trio alongside Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor, not to mention Zach Ertz, an elite pass-catching tight end,” the report noted.
But it has become increasingly difficult to sort the facts from the rumors regarding Antonio Brown’s trade destination. There have been a flurry of reports in the last few days about where he will land, including reports on Thursday that made it seem as if a deal with the Buffalo Bills was all but completed. That had fallen apart by Friday morning amid reports that Brown turned down the idea of playing in Buffalo, and Bills general manager Brandon Beane slammed the door shut on the rumors with a statement saying the Bills had declined to pursue the trade any further.
“We inquired about Antonio Brown on Tuesday, and kept talks open with the Steelers,” Beane said in a statement (via NFL.com).
“We had positive discussions, but ultimately it didn’t make sense for either side. As great a player as Antonio Brown is, we have moved on and our focus is on free agency.”
By Friday night, it seemed as if the Oakland Raiders had completed a deal, as Steelers writer Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported on Twitter that the team was “close to a deal” and Brown posted a video on Instagram where he was wearing the team’s colors. Nothing came of that for more than a day, however, and it appears that there is nothing imminent for the talented wide receiver.
Niners Nation pointed out on Saturday that the rumors for Antonio Brown had run dry, noting that Brown himself appeared to be treating his trade demand as if it were free agency and he was able to dictate where we went next season to the Steelers. In reality, the Steelers hold the cards and could choose not to trade Brown, forcing him to either sit out or suit up for the team. Given his messy ending to the season — which included Brown being benched in the season finale — the latter does not seem a likely option for Brown.