Apparently Antonio Brown wants out of Pittsburgh:
Antonio Brown has requested a trade. Im told it was not a demand but he has asked to be dealt. Very unlikely Rooney would capitulate. Brown has issues with Mike Tomlin and Ben Roethlisberger. Feels like the coach is too aligned with the QB.— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) January 1, 2019
There are plenty (seriously there are a lot) of people out there who think that the Bears should go after Brown. That's not a bad thing! Hypothetical, Maddenesque trades are part of what makes sports fun and the last time Bears fans 'shipped an All-Pro to their team it actually happened, so what's wrong a little heat check every now and then.
Though crazier things have certainly happened, the truth is that Antonio Brown to the Bears is an equally enjoyable and unrealistic idea.
Thinking about it is fun though. Matt Nagy and March Helfrich's scheme could utilize him in an endless variety of ways. An offense with AB, Allen Robinson, Trey Burton, Taylor Gabriel and Tarik Cohen all catching passes would put up *numbers*.
There are issues, however, and quite a few of them. The most notable one being that it just doesn't make sense for the Steelers to trade him any time soon:
The Steelers re-structured Antonio Brown’s deal in March of 2018 and would owe $21.2 million in dead money on their cap if they traded him before June 1. That alone makes an AB trade extremely unlikely for a variety of reasons.— Bill Barnwell (@billbarnwell) January 1, 2019
That's not to say they won't trade him at 12:01 AM on June 2nd, but it does highlight another significant issue:
Antonio Brown makes a lot of money. He's getting paid roughly $17 million a year for the next three seasons, which -- setting aside the value argument for a moment -- is just objectively a lot of money. Ryan Pace could make it work, but with a deep Bears' roster that's not going to have a ton of cap space for the immediate future, is another big contract worth the personnel shuffling that adding it would require?
Which brings up another somewhat obvious point: the Bears are not short on wide receivers. It wasn't their strongest season as a unit, but there are plenty of reasons (season 1 of contracts, familiarity with Trubisky/Nagy in first year, etc) why the Bears might look at the group as less of a weakness than fans might. That's not even mentioning the possibility of breakout seasons from Javon Wims or Anthony Miller, the latter of which has been compared to Brown already.
Antonio Brown would be the best offensive player on the Bears. It's hard not to look at a Bears' WR corps that perhaps underwhelmed at times this season and see a fit, just like all 31 other NFL teams are doing. It's just not that realistic -- and apparently he's already all-in on San Fran?-- but then again, neither was Khalil Mack?