"I kept saying, 'We’re not interested,'" Raiders general manager Mike Mayock said on the Dan Patrick Show regarding initial talks with the Steelers. "Then the Buffalo thing fell through. One of their guys reached out to Jon [Gruden]...[Steelers GM] Kevin [Colbert] said to me, 'Would you trade your two? I said, 'No, but we might trade our three.'"
Mayock also noted in the interview that he and Gruden were "unified" in not trading away one of the team's three first-round picks in this year's draft. Once those first-rounders were off the board, getting a player of Brown's caliber became impossible to pass on.
"As intriguing as AB was, we were trying to build a certain way," Mayock said. "But when he became available at a different level, it was kinda like, we can change how we practice. We can change what we look like on Sunday. We can change how teams have to defend us. For a three and a five, at that point, we were ready to say, 'It looks like free agency's got to change for us.'"
The Raiders ultimately agreed to send the Steelers a third- and fifth-round pick for Brown, though Mayock noted "the hard part started after that" since the trade was "contingent upon getting AB a new deal."
Mayock said the deal nearly didn't go down given those negotiations, though the Raiders and Browns eventually agreed to a reworked contract that gave him a nice raise, including $30.1 million in guaranteed money.
Brown was the premier addition of the offseason for Oakland, but the Raiders have been busy, also signing tackle Trent Brown, defensive back Lamarcus Joyner and wide receiver Tyrell Williams. With those four moves, the Raiders added four starters, bolstering a roster with major needs at multiple positions.
The two Browns and Williams should make life much easier for Carr. His new wideouts combined for 145 receptions, 1,950 yards and 20 touchdowns last season, with Brown accounting for the majority of that workload.
Williams should benefit from the added attention Brown receives, however, while Carr will benefit from playing with an elite route-runner and playmaker of Brown's status. And while the Raiders are paying Brown a hefty fee, they didn't have to pay the Steelers one to acquire him. In that regard, the Raiders kept their key draft assets as they continue to rebuild.