Antonio Brown Traded to the Raiders
Perennial Pro Bowl Wide Receiver Antonio Brown was at odds with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Frustrations mounted from Brown not receiving top dollar for his outstanding production. He has also publicly criticized Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger over the past month. All of a sudden, a trade became an inevitability.
Now, the Brown versus Steelers saga has come to a close. On March 10th, the Steelers agreed to trade Brown to the Oakland Raiders. In exchange for Brown, the Steelers received a third and fifth round draft pick. Brown should be in line for a long term extension that will make him the top paid WR in the NFL. The Steelers can move on peacefully. How will this trade impact all parties going forward?
The Raiders Have a Number One Wide Receiver
After trading WR Amari Cooper to the Dallas Cowboys during last season, the Raiders were without a true number one receiver. Starting QB Derek Carr was a bit inconsistent last season, especially after the Cooper deal. After the deal, Carr crossed the 300 passing yards mark only once and finished four games under 70 percent competition. The WR corps didn’t help much. No one reached 70 receptions nor 1,000 yards. Tight End Jared Cook, who led the team in receptions, yards and touchdowns is due to be a free agent.
Brown will be a huge boost for the Raiders’ offense. The Raiders have not had a receiver finish a season with 1,000 yards since 2002. Since Brown’s debut season in 2010, he has led the NFL in receptions and receiving yards. Last season, Brown finished with a career-high 15 touchdowns. Also, Brown recorded his sixth straight with at least 100 receptions and 1,200 yards. He will help with the development of Carr and the other young receivers.
Are the Steelers declining?
For decades, the Steelers have been a model organization. But, it seems like their luster is fading. Not only has Brown expressed his unhappiness, but they still have to resolve issues with RB Le’Veon Bell, who sat out all of last season over a contract dispute. The Steelers’ refusal to pay their top players have left a stain on the organization.
The Steelers will miss Brown’s production. It will be very difficult to replace him. Luckily, they still have WR JuJu Smith-Schuster, who led the team in receptions (111) and receiving yards (1,426) last season. But Smith -Schuster will not be enough. Also, Roethlisberger is on the decline. The Steelers have a load of work to do.
Antonio Brown’s 2019 Forecast
Brown’s value and marketability will climb higher with the Raiders. He is a recognizable face and talent and he will be used to launch the Raiders into their new era when they move to Las Vegas next year. However, Brown might face an uphill battle.
It is not a guarantee the Raiders will reconstruct his current deal, which has two years remaining. Also, the Raiders are in reconstruction mode. They had an abysmal season, finishing 4-12. Head Coach Jon Gruden, who is in his second stint with the team, is still making changes. Carr is a talented QB who should be in his prime. However, he is a downgrade over Roethlisberger. Brown’s production could take a hit if Carr does not improve. Brown will open up things offensively. But overall, the Raiders have a long way to go. Brown is accustomed to winning football. He will need to exercise his leadership in order for the Raiders to win more games next year.