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Antonio Brown reveals even the Steelers agree it's time he moves on

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USA TODAY SPORTS

Antonio Brown reveals even the Steelers agree it's time he moves on

Antonio Brown won’t play for the Pittsburgh Steelers next season.

You may have thought this scenario already existed since the Pro Bowl wide receiver often publically airs his desire for a trade and frustrations with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Tuesday’s news pushed assumption to reality.

Brown met with Steelers owner Art Rooney II Tuesday. The NFL’s top receiver posted a picture of the two via his Twitter account with a summary of their conversation.

“Had a great meeting with Mr. Rooney today we discussed a lot of things and we cleared the air on several issues!” Brown explained. “We both agreed that it is time to move on but I’ll always have appreciation and gratitude towards the Rooney family and @steelers organization! #CallGod#Boomin

Multiple media reports soon followed, including one from Pro Football Talk, stating the Steelers “have agreed to trade” Brown. However, permission for Brown’s camp to speak with other teams was not initially granted.

The cost won’t be cheap despite Pittsburgh essentially backed into a corner. Considering Brown’s tremendous talent and Hall of Fame production, he’s the rare non-quarterback capable of positively altering a team’s projections. 

Green Bay, armed with two first-round picks, and San Francisco, a team Brown mentions as a future destination on social media, are among the teams likely excited by Tuesday’s reveal.

As for the Redskins, we know the need is real. Washington’s offense lacks playmakers especially at wide receiver. The team also has major concerns under center, so acquiring a top receiver before solving that passer issue feels a bit like putting the cart before the horse. There are also salary cap fears for a team without much wiggle room and a lengthy list of holes.

If, however, Washington desires a return to its off-season champion days, adding Brown is the splashy move. Now we know for sure that’s an option. 

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Would Ravens fans welcome Steelers WR Antonio Brown?

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USA TODAY Sports

Would Ravens fans welcome Steelers WR Antonio Brown?

If there’s one Raven who knows just how difficult it is to cover Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown, it’s Marlon Humphrey.

The second-year cornerback out of Alabama rose to the top of the team’s depth chart in the secondary this season and was rewarded with the chance to cover the consensus top pass catcher in football over the last half-decade.

It’s not newsworthy to tell you that Antonio Brown is an elite receiver. In Week 14 of the 2017 season, with top CB Jimmy Smith on the bench, Brown roasted the Ravens secondary for 213 yards on 11 catches. And in two games this past season with Humphrey following him, Brown combined for 104 yards on 10 catches and a touchdown in each game. 

What is newsworthy is the Steelers potentially shopping Brown, after numerous reports of locker room struggles and diva qualities from the star. And since he knows just how dangerous Brown can be, it makes sense that Humphrey would prefer to see him in purple and black.

Fans of every team have imagined what it would be like to see Brown in their colors, scoring touchdowns and racking up big yardage. It’s no surprise that players would imagine it as well.

He hasn't had fewer than 1,284 yards or 8 touchdowns in any season since 2012, but Brown will be 31 by the start of next season, so there probably aren't too many elite seasons left. For the time being, however, Brown would be a major addition for any team.

That goes double for the Ravens, who would A) take a playmaker away from their biggest rivals, and B) finally give themselves a star receiver, something they haven’t had on the roster since Anquan Boldin during the Super Bowl run.

While no team wants to add an alleged diva to their locker room, the Ravens have historically believed in the strength and leadership of their veterans, and therefore haven’t shied away from problematic players.

With John Harbaugh running things and Eric Weddle and Terrell Suggs in the locker room (none of whom are guaranteed for 2019, to be fair), the Ravens will likely trust their infrastructure and focus on talent when adding to the roster this offseason, and Brown certainly is talented.

Even Humphrey recognizes it’s a longshot, however. Not only would it take a massive haul in draft picks and young talent, but the Ravens would need to create some cap room that’s already needed to fill other holes on the roster.

Plus, it’s hard to imagine the Steelers allowing their best player to go to their most hated rival if they can help it, so Baltimore would likely be forced to overpay even more than other teams to pry away Brown. Even if they could make it happen, how would fans react to adding a player they've hated for so long?

When asked about potentially bringing in both Brown and star running back Le’Veon Bell from Pittsburgh to Baltimore, Humphrey could only laugh.

Some things really would be too good to be true. It’s still fun to speculate, though, and Lamar Jackson throwing up long touchdowns to Brown would be a sight to behold.

If anything else, it’d just be nice to get Brown out of the black and gold. Just ask Marlon Humphrey.

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Would pursuing Antonio Brown be worth it for the Redskins considering their QB situation?

Would pursuing Antonio Brown be worth it for the Redskins considering their QB situation?

The Redskins need a stud wide receiver. Badly.

Antonio Brown is a stud wide receiver. Undoubtedly.

So, Washington should pick up the phone, call Pittsburgh and figure out a way to work out a trade for Brown, right? 

It's not that easy.

There are plenty of obstacles between Brown becoming a member of the Redskins, as Washington would have to clear out quite a bit of salary to make room for him and also weigh whether he'll fit into their locker room.

Another thing worth considering, too: What's the point of acquiring Antonio Brown without a QB to maximize his talents?

There are serious questions about whether Alex Smith will play next season, or ever again. That means, barring a drastic move, the Redskins will go into 2019 with someone like Colt McCoy or an unproven youngster starting under center.

Sure, you could argue that Brown would make that passer's life a lot easier. He would, to an extent. But ask someone like Odell Beckham or Larry Fitzgerald what life is like on the outside, even as an elite talent, when the guy getting you the ball isn't properly equipped to do so.

Brown is one of the best pass catchers of his generation and will likely end up as one of the best of any era. Whatever offense he's lining up for next season will be better thanks to his presence.

However, this is a guy who's grown frustrated in a franchise that's made the postseason four of the past five years and is unhappy in a place where he's paired with a top-tier signal-caller. 

The Redskins, on the other hand, have neither the track record of success or a settled situation at QB, so it's fair to be very skeptical of how he'd handle a move to D.C.

Now, for this organization to break out of football's middle class, an area they're stuck in, going after a star and taking a risk is absolutely worth trying.

Unfortunately, the quarterback depth chart will affect every potential move. And when that potential move involves heavily investing in a premier wideout, the quarterback depth chart should probably dissuade anyone from ultimately making that move.   

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