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Antonio Brown Trade Rumors: Steelers 'Moving Quickly'; Jets, Cardinals Out

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistMarch 6, 2019

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown (84) warms up before an NFL football game against the New England Patriots in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Dec. 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
Keith Srakocic/Associated Press

The NFL-wide pursuit of Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown reportedly may reach a conclusion soon.

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported Wednesday the Steelers told teams things are "moving quickly" and to "give their best offers ASAP." Rapoport added that while three new teams have entered the running, the New York Jets and Arizona Cardinals are both out on Brown.

Adam Schefter of ESPN noted teams that have spoken to the Steelers about Brown "have been told that a deal is expected to be in place by Friday."

Rapoport added the Steelers are seeking a first-round pick as compensation:

Ian Rapoport @RapSheet

The #Steelers are still aiming high when it comes to an Antonio Brown price tag... https://t.co/F6jj4YqYdA

BetOnline has odds posted for which team Brown will be on when the 2019 NFL regular season begins, and the Oakland Raiders are the current favorites at +350 (7-2). They are followed by the Tennessee Titans at +550 (11-2), the Cardinals at +750 (15-2) and the Green Bay Packers at +1,000 (10-1).

The San Francisco 49ers, Cleveland Browns, Indianapolis Colts and Steelers are all tied for fifth at +1,200 (12-1).

Brown requested a trade this offseason following a reported late-season incident leading up to Week 17 of the 2018 NFL campaign. He opted against practicing for the remainder of the week after reportedly getting into an argument with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger at practice, which resulted in Brown's inactive status for Pittsburgh's game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

The 30-year-old met with Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert and owner Art Rooney II in Florida last week, and Schefter reported that a source told him "everyone [including Brown's agent Drew Rosenhaus and exec Omar Khan] agreed the trade will be for the best."

Brown also tweeted the following after the meeting:

Antonio Brown @AB84

Had a great meeting with Mr.Rooney today we discussed a lot of things and we cleared the air on several issues! We both agreed that it is time to move on but I’ll always have appreciation and gratitude towards the Rooney family and @steelers organization! #CallGod #Boomin https://t.co/DEgURchvhW

Over nine seasons with the Steelers, Brown is a seven-time Pro Bowler and four-time first-team All-Pro. He has been named to the Pro Bowl in each of the past six seasons, and during that stretch he has never finished with fewer than 100 catches, 1,200 yards or eight touchdowns in a season.

Brown finished second on the team to JuJu Smith-Schuster in receptions and receiving yards last season, but he still had a huge year with 104 grabs for 1,297 yards and an NFL-best 15 receiving touchdowns.

With the NFL draft occurring next month and free agency starting next week, now is the perfect time for the Steelers to move Brown. It would give Pittsburgh ample time to figure out how to replace him and allow teams to make contingency plans if they are unable to land him.

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