Report: Jets interested in trading for Antonio Brown
By Justin Fried
Per a report from NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the New York Jets have entered the mix for Pittsburgh Steelers star wide receiver Antonio Brown.
The New York Jets have made it a top offseason priority to improve their offensive output and add playmakers on offense to help out young quarterback Sam Darnold. If recent reports are to believed, it’s clear that the team is exploring all of their options.
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport has reported that the Jets have entered the trade market for Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown. The Jets were among a handful of teams Rapoport listed off but he made it apparent that the team was showing substantial interest.
The Antonio Brown sweepstakes roll on for the #Steelers, as teams come in and out. The #Broncos deemed it too rich. The #Jets enter the mix. The #Raiders have been in it the whole time. Will be a fun week. pic.twitter.com/JSTIkdX53r
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 5, 2019
If the Jets are serious about building an offense around Darnold, it makes complete sense for them to explore potential trade packages for the talented, but troubled Steelers wideout. Brown has been a consensus top-three receiver in the NFL for quite some time now and there’s no denying the immense talent he would bring to the Jets offense.
The former sixth-round pick has been named to the Pro Bowl each of the last six seasons and had been named a First-Team All-Pro each of the last four years before this past season. By his standards, Brown had a “down year” in 2018 but still managed to lead the league in receiving touchdowns with 15, while hauling in 104 catches for 1,297 yards.
To even call that a “down-year” is really a bit of an exaggeration.
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Despite this, Brown has seen his relationship with the Steelers organization gradually deteriorate over the past couple of seasons. This all came to a head ahead of the team’s final regular season contest, a game that had playoff implications. Brown reportedly didn’t show up for scheduled team meetings and was subsequently suspended for the game.
If reports are to be believed, his absence was due to a dispute with equally controversial quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
Brown is evidently an incredible talent and still, despite his age and “decreasing production,” remains one of the premier receivers in football. At the same time, it’s fair to question whether bringing a player with attitude concerns and a supposed “me-first” outlook into the current team locker room would be a smart idea.
The Jets are in the midst of a rebuild and really a complete franchise overhaul of sorts. They will go into 2019 with a brand new coaching staff and a general manager on the hot seat all while trying to develop their promising young signal-caller in Darnold. It might not be wise to introduce Brown into this potentially volatile situation.
On the other hand, Brown would make the offense infinitely better and there’s no telling how he would fit in with a new locker room and a new organization. On top of that, due to his contract, age, and attitude concerns, Brown’s price tag may not be as high as some would anticipate.
Recent reports have the Steelers asking for a second or third-round pick making the possibility of a trade all the more intriguing. The Jets don’t currently have a second-round pick but could obtain one if they were to trade down in the upcoming draft, although it’s likely Brown gets dealt before then.
At the end of the day, it’s unlikely that Brown ends up with the Jets as general manager Mike Maccagnan has traditionally steered clear of players with supposed attitude concerns in recent years. Still, it’s nice to see the team exploring all avenues in an attempt to improve the dismal offense.
They may not be the favorites, but they’re at least keeping their options open.