At approximately 11:30pm ET Thursday Night, Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reported that the Pittsburgh Steelers are sending troubled Wide Receiver Antonio Brown to the Buffalo Bills. My first thought was , don’t cross the Rooney family or you’ll end up in Buffalo, but let’s take a closer look at this deal.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 8, 2019
First off, I’m sure Buffalo is a beautiful little city, and I absolutely love the passion from their fan base, but do we really think this is where Antonio Brown wants to be? He goes from a team with one of the best owners in Sports, a winning history, and a future Hall of Fame Quarterback, to the Bills. A team that might be best known for their fans jumping through tables(which as I said, I love). Brown doesn’t come with a cheap cap hit, at 22 million, 18 million, and 19 million over the next three years, but as we sit now, the Bills have over 73 million in cap space and should be able to easily afford him.
But how will this work on the field? Josh Allen completed only 52.8% of his passes this year, which will undoubtedly improve with Brown on the roster. His 10 touchdowns and 12 interceptions aren’t the worst we’ve seen from a rookie, but will need to improve. Allen’s strength was running the ball, rushing for 631 yards and 8 touchdowns, on 89 attempts. The team still does have Shady McCoy(who finished 2nd on the team in rushing behind Allen), but the talent drops off pretty quick from there. Zay Jones is a #2 receiver at best, and led the team in yardage with 652, scoring 7 majors. He actually may the biggest benefactor in this trade. After that, they have Robert Foster, Ray-Ray McCloud, among others, so from a need perspective, this was a great acquisition for the Buffalo. Brown can really do it all. He has the speed to stretch the field, and can run the intermediate routes as well. You can involve him in the screen game, and in a pinch he can easily return kicks or punts on special teams.
How much does Antonio Brown have left? The guy is a future Hall of Famer, without a doubt, but at age 31, can he still be expected to produce at an elite level in the remaining years of his contract? He finished 2018 with 104 receptions, 1297 yards and 15 touchdowns in just 15 games. His haters will say that playing with Ben and Ju-Ju assisted that, but in my opinion the guy has another 2-3 years left as one of the leagues best, even without the stars around him. If you want to compare him to other receivers with “similar” skill sets, Current Hall of Fame Receivers Marvin Harrison and Andre Reed were both quite productive until the age of 35, so I see no reason why AB can’t be as well.
Overall, I really like this move for both sides. We still have to wait and see what the return is(Daniel Jeremiah reports it could be a future pick, or the teams swapping first rounders this year),but the Steelers get rid of a headache, and send a player to Buffalo, where he can torment the New England Patriots twice a year. For Brown, a fresh start with a young, highly touted Quarterback. Now we just have to see how he enjoys northern New York. Enjoy Buffalo, my man!