According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, Beane said: "We inquired about Antonio Brown on Tuesday and kept talks open with the Steelers. We had positive discussions, but ultimately it didn't make sense for either side. As great a player as Antonio Brown is, we have moved on, and our focus is on free agency."
Early Friday morning, Schefter reported that a trade to Buffalo was "unlikely." He added that a deal wasn't as close as Rapoport initially indicated:
Adam Schefter @AdamSchefter
Another source on a potential Antonio Brown-to-Buffalo trade said it will not happen. “I don't think the Bills trade was ever close to happening,” said one source involved in those talks. Steelers snd Bills briefly talked but “this is an old story. It was dead on Wednesday.”
Rapoport then reported the Bills and Steelers engaged in "intense talks" overnight and "almost [got] there on trade compensation" before Buffalo dropped out.
There were several factors that may have played a role, and chief among them is compensation, as it's possible Pittsburgh was asking for the No. 9 overall pick in the 2019 draft. It would have been tough for the Bills to justify moving that pick for a 30-year-old wideout since Buffalo has several holes to fill on both sides of the ball.
Also, there is no guarantee that Brown would have reported to the Bills. Albert Breer of The MMQB reported that Brown "made it clear" he didn't want to go to Buffalo.
NFL Network's Tom Pelissero also reported on that possibility, noting Brown could have threatened retirement in the event of a trade to Buffalo:
Tom Pelissero @TomPelissero
As the #Bills and #Steelers close in on a trade for Antonio Brown, one big question remains: Will AB go? He has said he wants a new contract and won't play if it's not by his rules. If Brown wants to blow this up, his weapon is saying he'll retire rather than play in Buffalo.
Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reported that it wasn't about money, adding that Brown was simply "unwilling" to go to Buffalo. He also called the market for Brown "bleak."
Brown has been named to the Pro Bowl in each of the past six seasons, and he has also reached at least 100 catches for 1,200 yards and eight touchdowns in each of those campaigns. Last season, Brown led the NFL with 15 touchdowns receptions to go along with 104 grabs for 1,297 yards.
Of course, Brown would have provided a huge boost to a Bills offense devoid of a go-to wideout. Last season, second-year man Zay Jones led the Bills with 652 receiving yards, while undrafted rookie Robert Foster was second with 541.
Quarterback Josh Allen needs better targets if he's to make strides in his second season, but Buffalo will have to look toward the draft or free agency to make that happen.