Antonio Brown Trade Rumors: Raiders Are 1 Team 'Continually Staying in the Mix'

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistMarch 5, 2019

CHARLOTTE, NC - FEBRUARY 17: NFL player, Antonio Brown smiles and laughs during the 2019 NBA All-Star Game on February 17, 2019 at Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Tom O'Connor/NBAE via Getty Images)
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The Oakland Raiders appear to have emerged as the favorites to trade for Antonio Brown

Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported the Raiders are the "team that's been most interested" in making a deal for the disgruntled Pro Bowler.

The Raiders have three first-round picks in April's draft, and coach Jon Gruden has a known affinity for Brown. The 31-year-old requested a trade from the Pittsburgh Steelers earlier this offseason after a falling out with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, coach Mike Tomlin and team management.

Brown has particularly called out the preferential treatment given to Roethlisberger over other players. He took particular exception to general manager Kevin Colbert saying the QB has "52 kids under him."

"What ideally grown man is calling another grown man a kid?" Brown told ESPN's Jeff Darlington. "You don't have no respect for these guys? These are the guys that go to work for you. ... That's my issue. It's all about respect."

ESPN's Adam Schefter reported the Steelers have been seeking a first-round pick in exchange for Brown. Oakland has the Nos. 4, 24 and 27 picks in the first round after trading Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper. 

Gruden heaped praise upon Brown's work ethic before the Raiders' Week 14 matchup with Pittsburgh. 

"He's the hardest-working man, I think, in football," Gruden said. "Hardest-working player I've ever seen practice, and I've seen Jerry Rice. I've seen a lot of good ones. But I put Antonio Brown at the top. And if there's any young wideouts out there, I'd go watch him practice, and you figure out yourself why he's such a good player."

Gruden also refused to address trade rumors when asked about Brown at the combine. 

"Well, I don't like veteran players, so I'll just leave it at that," Gruden joked with reporters. "I'm not going to speculate about anybody. We are going to look at every vehicle possible. Certainly, the financial part of every acquisition has to be considered, but we are going to look into everybody's availability and what we think is best for our team."

Brown has said finding a winning organization that's willing to pay him guaranteed money is his priority. The Raiders have one winning season in the last 16 years. However, they do have $72.9 million in cap space.

Rapoport said the Steelers would like to trade Brown before he's due a $2.5 million roster bonus March 17.