The New England Patriots wanted wide receiver Antonio Brown so much this offseason, they reportedly were willing to give up a first-round draft pick to acquire him from the Pittsburgh Steelers.
ESPN's Chris Mortensen, during "Sunday NFL Countdown", shed more light on the Patriots' interest in Brown.
"As far as Bill Belichick goes, he's always had an interest in Antonio Brown when he became available this offseason," Mortensen said. "He actually offered a first-round pick to the Steelers. (Steelers general manager) Kevin Colbert wanted more but really didn't want to trade him at all. He basically went on and took the third- and fifth-round (picks) from the Raiders."
ESPN's Adam Schefter also reported Sunday the Patriots tried to trade for Brown before he was dealt to the Oakland Raiders, but the Steelers didn't want to trade him to a rival.
It's understandable for the Steelers to be against trading Brown to the Patriots. The Patriots are 8-3 versus the Steelers, including a 3-0 record in the playoffs, when Tom Brady starts at quarterback. It's hard enough to beat the Patriots without Brown, but with the All-Pro wideout now in the fold, New England's offense should be the toughest to defend in the league.
Still, teams should seriously consider the best trade package available regardless of which rival is offering it, and a first-round pick is a huge asset, even if it's the 32nd overall selection. The Steelers have a lot of roster needs to address, and the draft is the best place to acquire young, cost-controlled talent.
The situation ultimately worked out for the Patriots, who got to keep their draft picks and still sign Brown before the 2019 season -- although he cannot make his debut for New England until its Week 2 matchup with the Miami Dolphins.
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