The best available wide receiver this NFL offseason isn’t a free agent, it’s Pittsburgh Steelers’ Antonio Brown. Brown has made it clear that he wants a change of scenery and team owner Art Rooney Jr. agreed that it is the right choice to move on.
So the question now is where will the 30 year old star receiver call his new home?
Many people will knock Brown for his diva-like antics which have been put into the limelight throughout his trade saga. Also, some people even question Brown’s skills as a receiver by accrediting a lot of his success to his quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
While it always helped to have a strong starting quarterback, the reality is that 6th round draft pick Brown has made the most of his opportunities and has amassed 827 receptions, 11,207 yards, and 74 touchdowns in his 9 year career. That includes 7 seasons of 1,000+ yards (6 consecutive) and 6 consecutive seasons of 100+ receptions. Brown is a dominant player that will boost any team is becomes a member of and his play will back up any of his diva antics.
The Steelers will not let Brown go anywhere: Especially not to a rival contender such as the New England Patriots (sorry Patriots fans, go focus on Odell) or other strong AFC squads.
Here are a few teams that seem likely to make a run for Antonio Brown’s services, dark horse teams to keep an eye on, and teams that I don’t think can make the move despite rumors.
San Fransisco 49ers
It’s obvious that Brown would like to play in San Fransisco, he hasn’t been hiding that. In January, Brown posted an Instagram picture of him in a 49ers uniform with the great Jerry Rice.
San Fransisco is a hot destination right now. The 49ers are a young team with a lot of growing talent. Hopefully with a healthy Jimmy Garoppolo next season, the team can take the next step forward. By adding Brown, the team would gain another big offensive weapon to join budding star tight end George Kittle and second year receiver Dante Pettis with their strong stable of running backs.
An NFC team that isn’t an immediate threat to the Steelers could be a likely destination for Brown. Don’t be surprised to see him in red and gold next season.
The Colts are a team that have been linked to Brown numerous times since they have a lot of trade assets and a ton of cap space. But will the Steelers trade Brown to a threatening Colts team? It doesn’t seem likely.
The Colts made a strong push into the playoffs last year before face planting against the Kansas City Chiefs. The Colts would love to add another weapon on the outside but it’s hard to believe that the Steelers would risk bolstering the Colts offense.
The AFC East except New England
I already mention that New England is out, but the rest of the AFC East is not. Name one strong receiver on the New York Jets, Miami Dolphins, or Buffalo Bills… it’s tough.
The Jets may lose Quincy Enunwa and Robbie Anderson, Devante Parker is likely out in Miami, and the Bills have a few young guys that haven’t proved much yet. Not to mention, none of these teams are playoff bound right now.
The young quarterbacks on New York and Buffalo would love to have an experienced weapon to get the ball to and I’m sure whoever is the quarterback of Miami next year will too.
Pittsburgh wouldn’t fear sending Brown to any of these teams, and perhaps with some extra firepower, maybe one of these teams can add a loss or two to New England next year.
This destination is not likely but it is interesting. The Seahawks owe it to Russell Wilson to get him a few weapons. Doug Baldwin is still a good receiver but he is aging and Tyler Lockett stepped up last season but is best suited as a deep threat.
Wilson could use another receiver to take some stress off of him and the run game which is what the Seahawks want to focus on. Adding Brown would require teams to respect the pass by not being able to stack the box.
The Detroit Lions are not in a great state right. The Lions were sub-par across the board and shopping Golden Tate out of town mid season was the nail in the coffin for an already sputtering offense. Matthew Stafford’s favorite target leaving left him with Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones who are both good players but didn’t have the same impact as Tate. Golladay and Jones seem to do more of their work on the outside and adding Brown could add the possession receiver that Stafford misses.
In fact, adding Brown could give Stafford a weapon which Detroit lacks so badly. This team needs help and Brown could be a bandaid over a bad situation.
The final team on this list is another unlikely destination but one that seems like a good fit for Brown. Corey Davis made strides for the Titans after being drafted 5th overall in 2017. The Titans also have a stable of young, talented receivers with Taywan Taylor and Tajae Sharp and the return of veteran tight end Delanie Walker.
Brown could add stability and experience to the Titans’ offense. Similar to the Seattle Seahawks, this is a team that seems committed to the run game with Derrick Henry, but if you can’t throw the ball then it is hard to run.
Marcus Mariota hasn’t lived up to his draft potential, but he also has been victim of a revolving door of coaches, a lack of weapons, and injuries. Mariota would love the addition of Brown to this offense.
The Tennessee Titans would love the addition of Brown to this below average offense.