If you haven’t heard, Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown has requested a trade following a fallout/argument with the team. Through their age 30 season, Brown has 934 more receiving yards than Jerry Rice (11,207 to 10,273). He has had 227 more catches (837 to 610). Seven out of his nine seasons have been over 1000 yards. Six of nine seasons have been over 100 catches. Six of nine seasons he has scored 8 or more touchdowns. Per Adam Schefter, his six straight 1000 yard seasons is the longest streak in NFL history. Brown is on a historic pace. He is on his way to a spot in the NFL Hall of Fame if he keeps this pace. Now, he is looking for a new team. So why is trading for Antonio Brown a bad move for the Buffalo Bills?
The 2010 Draft
In round six of the 2010 NFL Draft, the Buffalo Bills were on the clock. The Bills looked to take a shot on a young receiver from Central Michigan University named Antonio Brown. He had superb college stats and absolutely dominated the Mid American Conference. But, his size (5-foot-10 185 pounds), 40-yard dash time (4.56) and small school profile let him slip in the draft.
In a video released by the Steelers in 2017 called, “Antonio Brown’s Path to Pittsburgh” it was revealed the Bills had called Brown that day of the draft (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2nkmyatc3jY). The Bills called Brown’s brother’s phone to speak with Antonio. But, at the same time he got a call from Pittsburgh. He didn’t even answer the Bills phone call because he would have rather played with Ben Roethlisberger in Pittsburgh. This lead to the Bills passing on him and the Steelers selecting him three picks later. This event showed that he had no desire to be in Buffalo from the start of his career.
If the Bills were to trade for Brown, they’d have to give up serious assets. Whether in terms of money, draft picks, or players the haul would have to be quite large to get Brown. He is due $12.625 million in 2019, $11.3 million in 2020 and $12.5 million in 2021. He is set for free agency in 2022. Brown is currently the 2nd highest paid receiver in the NFL. The Bills would have to take on that lucrative contract even though they still need money for positions like offensive line.
They would also have to give up a first round draft pick or more for him. If Amari Cooper was traded for a first round pick then it will take at least a first round pick, maybe even two, and multiple middle round picks to acquire him. The Bills, who are not quite legitimate contenders yet, would be giving up key assets in the form of draft picks and cap space. Brown is a receiver who will be 31 and might only have so many productive seasons left while the Bills are still a few years away from possible Super Bowl contention. Brown has yet to win a Super Bowl and if he only has a few productive years left then the Bills might not be a great fit to get him his ring soon.
Brown’s altercation with Ben Roethlisberger, throwing a ball at him and arguing led to a series of events that caused this situation. After the altercation, he stopped showing up to practice, didn’t play in the week 17 game and left the stadium at halftime of that game in a must-win game for a chance at the playoffs. There has been known tension before with Brown and the Steelers as well. His off the field antics have caused former teammates to even speak out about his issues. In addition, Brown didn’t show up to court for a speeding ticket for going over 100 mph recently. He was also recently accused of domestic misconduct by the mother of his child. He has not been convicted, charged or punished however. This is merely an accusation. He is also constantly a presence in the media and on social media.
A 31-year old receiver who may not have many years left of elite production that needs to win a Super Bowl to cement his greatness doesn’t fit well with a team that is a few years away from serious contention. Add in the cost, over $10 million per year and the draft picks it will take to acquire him and an Antonio Brown trade doesn’t seem like the right move for the Buffalo Bills. He even has shown he doesn’t want to be in Buffalo. His character issues would also completely deter all the hard work Sean Mcdermott has done to create his culture. An aging player to a team that isn’t “win now,” the high cost, the future assets (draft picks) it would take and the off the field issues are the reasons why the Buffalo Bills should not trade for Antonio Brown.