Despite nine productive seasons, the Pittsburgh Steelers and Antonio Brown are likely heading for a divorce, which means the New York Jets have a chance at getting the NFL’s best receiver at a bargain.
Over the past nine years, no receiver has created more headlines off and off the field more than Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Antonio Brown. Brown has amassed 837 receptions for 11,207 yards and 74 touchdowns.
Unfortunately, it seems like the Steelers are getting tried of Brown’s outbursts. With reports of Brown and Pittsburgh agreeing on trading him, it seems like the Steelers will trade their most prolific wide receiver. One team looking to make a major splash could be the New York Jets.
Last year, New York suffered through a 4-12 season, which cost Todd Bowles his job. Receiver Robby Anderson led the Jets with just 752 receiving yards. Brown’s inclusion could make the Jets a formidable offense capable of winning games.
GM Mike Maccagnan needs Brown to keep his job
Repetitive losing often creates uneasiness for fanbases. For Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan, his four-year reign has seen more than its fair share of losing. With a 24-40 record and three straight double-digit losing campaigns, Maccagnan is on borrowed time with no room for mistakes.
With another losing season, New York may fire its general manager. Because of last year’s Sam Darnold trade with the Indianapolis Colts, New York does not have its second-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. Antonio Brown may be the lifeline to keep his job and control of the Jets.
Free Agency doesn’t provide top receivers
Usually, free agency offers teams chances to improve their roster without trading away draft picks. Unfortunately, for the Jets, there are not really many receivers who can positively affect teams. Golden Tate, who split last season between the Detroit Lions and Philadelphia Eagles, is the top receiver available. After four straight 90-reception seasons, Tate caught 74 passes for 795 yards and four touchdowns.
The Steelers don’t miss on receivers
The Steelers are masters at drafting receivers. Since 2000, Pittsburgh has drafted Plaxico Burress, Antwaan Randle El, Santonio Holmes, Mike Wallace, Emmanuel Sanders, Brown and Juju Smith-Schuster, who have all made a significant impact in the NFL. With Smith-Schuster coming off a 1,400-yard Pro Bowl season, the Steelers may not need Brown to still have a prolific receiving group.
Money is no issue for the Jets
Cap space is very precious for teams looking at trades or free agents. While some teams have salary cap problems, the New York Jets have $95 million in cap space, according to Over The Cap. Even with Brown’s $12 million base salary, the Jets can afford other free agents.
Rarely is a top receiver is available for teams to acquire, and New York has the money, quarterback and need for Brown.