Antonio Brown appears hell-bent on forcing his way out of Pittsburgh, which naturally will prompt the usual “Should the Eagles trade for [insert wide receiver’s name]” discussions. Guarantee you, somebody, somewhere is suggesting the Eagles send Jalen Mills and a third-round draft pick to the Steelers right now.
Don’t count on the Steelers parting with Brown so easily, because anything less than a one is far too little to pay for the most prolific pass catcher of the last six years, and because the club will not be so willing to cave to an egomaniacal diva’s every whim. Yet, at a certain point, holding on to a disgruntled superstar probably does the franchise more harm than good, making a move here increasingly likely (though it should be noted, Brown’s contract makes it difficult for the Steelers to trade him).
So, let’s just jump out in front of this today: No, the Eagles should not be in the market for Antonio Brown.
Sure, Brown’s talent is undeniable. Since 2013, he’s averaged 114 catches, 1,524 yards and 11 touchdowns per season. We’re talking Jerry Rice levels of production.
With Randy Moss-Terrell Owens levels of headaches. If Brown is unhappy in Pittsburgh, a perennial Super Bowl contender with a Hall of Fame quarterback under center, what makes anybody believe he isn't bringing that bad attitude with him?
Brown is somebody who will make noise if he isn’t getting the ball as much as he thinks he should. He’s not above skipping meetings or practices to show his displeasure. Teammates described behavior that reportedly made Brown a healthy Week 17 scratch as “embarrassing” and “the worst I’ve seen.” And in addition to the selfish behaviors that have taken place in front of cameras, on social media and behind the scenes, there’s a growing pile of legal troubles off the field, too, including a domestic incident the NFL is looking into.
Can you imagine somebody like this in the Eagles’ locker room, which players frequently described as a family-like atmosphere over the past two years?
Perhaps it’s fortunate the Eagles couldn’t easily afford Brown, anyway. Forget whatever the cost of swinging the trade — the club is up against the salary cap, and his current $12.6 million base salary for 2019 would be hard to swallow. Then it's only a matter of time until he wants a new contract.
Brown turns 31 in July, and though he remains one of the most productive receivers in the league, his numbers have dipped some since his bonkers 2013-15 seasons. We’re not talking about somebody whose best days are still ahead.
Nor is receiver one of the Eagles’ biggest needs. Alshon Jeffery is a superstar. Zach Ertz is a tight end posting receiver-level production. Nelson Agholor is a fine supporting player and Dallas Goedert could have a bigger role in the offense next season. It wouldn’t hurt to add talent here, just not at the expense of $12 million and a bunch of draft picks, and certainly not for a malcontent in his 30s.
You probably don’t need to worry about the Eagles going after Brown, and all the evidence indicates they shouldn’t.
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