Agreed upon, yet unofficial, it appears the AB saga is over in Pittsburgh.
Late last night, the NFL community received word that the biggest player-team drama this season had been settled when the Steelers’ Antonio Brown took to social media.
AB let everyone know he was on the move to Oakland to join David Carr and the Raiders. While the deal can’t be made official until the league begins its new season on Wednesday, the parties involved have come to an agreement, leaving everyone either happy, relieved or scratching their heads.
The deal essentially breaks down as this:
The Steelers trade AB to the Raiders in return for 3rd and 5th round picks in this year’s draft, which would give them selections 66 and 142.
The Raiders get Brown and then they immediately rework his contract to make him the highest paid player in the league.
According to Pro Football Talk, AB’s guaranteed money for the next three years jumps to$30.125 million; his deal with the Steelers had no money guaranteed. Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that Brown can make up to $54.125 million over the next three years after incentives are included.
The Raiders now get, arguably, the best receiver in the game. Since 2010, when Brown first walked onto an NFL field with Pittsburgh, he’s dominated. Over the last nine years, he leads the league in receiving yards (11,207), receptions (837) and TD receptions (74). His skill and presence on the field is undeniable, giving David Carr a definitive number one option on both the team and in the league.
In addition, the Raiders are loaded with picks. After the move for Brown, and trading Kahlil Mack and Amari Cooper, the team now has a slew of top notch draft picks over the next two seasons including two first rounders in 2019, one first rounder in 2020, one second rounder in 2020 and one fifth rounder in 2020.
While this ends the AB trade drama for Pittsburgh and brings immediate attention to the Raiders, some are definitely scratching their heads and have questions. With the big money deal for Brown, why didn’t the team just give Mack his money and keep the dominant linebacker? If AB is the best receiver in the league, why didn’t Pittsburgh at least get one of the first round picks from the Raiders?
On top of that, Brown leaves a hit to the tune of $21 million on the Steelers’ cap this season.
Once the dust settles later this week, it looks like the Raiders will have big things happening this season, especially as their plans to move to Las Vegas continue. In Pittsburgh, they now have lost their top two players in Brown and Le’Veon Bell, and while James Connor and JuJu Smith-Schuster played really well last season in their absence, only time will tell if they can perform at the level of those two All Pros.
But for now, it looks like business will be boomin’ in Oakland.