“It just didn’t seem realistic it would continue in a healthy way moving forward,” Rosenhaus said. “I reached out to Kevin and said there doesn’t seem to be a productive solution outside of a trade. No one wanted to rush into a hasty conclusion. The feeling was, if there’s a way to salvage this, let’s explore this. It really wasn’t something I don’t think the team wanted to do out of the gate. But it became apparent to the club it was in everyone’s best interest to get a clean break.”
Steelers GM Kevin Colbert and team president Art Rooney II met with Brown and Rosenhaus one last time to try and salvage the relationship. While that didn’t happen, Brown did tone down his commentary afterward out of respect for the meeting.
“Once we all got together … really the summation of it was we are all disappointed that we are at this point,” Colbert said. “The point we made to Antonio was, ‘Look we love you as a player, we thank you for what you did for us for the past nine years. I am disappointed we didn’t get you a Super Bowl and I still think you are a Hall of Fame candidate.'”
Fowler reports the Saints, Titans and Patriots all had legitimate interest at different points in the process. At least one team was willing to deal a first-round pick if the contract hadn’t been a factor.
The Steelers and Bills agreed on draft compensation the week of March 4, but during talks with Rosenhaus on March 5, Bills GM Brandon Beane made it clear he would only tweak Brown’s deal, not redo it, which killed the deal before the March 8 report that Buffalo was “closing in” on a deal for Brown.
Fowler says people around the league believed part of the proposed deal with Buffalo included a move from No. 20 to No. 9 for Pittsburgh. After that didn’t work, Oakland became the frontrunner.
“When AB came into the picture, it wasn’t something that we necessarily planned for,” Raiders GM Mike Mayock said. “I thought somebody would give [Pittsburgh] a first-round pick, and we weren’t willing to give up one of our three. So when the Buffalo deal fell through and, all of a sudden, we had an opportunity to make a play for him, Jon and I were 100 percent in agreement that, at the right price, we had to go do it. He’s a game-changer. He’s one of two or three offensive players in the league you have to game plan for every week, talking about non-quarterbacks. So we felt like it was something we had to do.”
Mayock said he talked to people he knew in Pittsburgh about the separation and came away feeling comfortable with Brown from a locker room perspective.
“I did do a pretty deep dive with some of the Pittsburgh people I know,” Mayock said. “But the point is, for the majority of his career, could you criticize him for wanting the football more? Sure. But tell me a great wide receiver that doesn’t want the ball, right? So, he’s got some of that in him. But at the end of the day, he was a positive force in that building for a lot of years. Whatever happened last year, happened.”
- According to Geoff Hobson of the official team website, Bengals QB Andy Dalton will be cleared from his thumb injury in time for offseason workouts.
- Hobson says the Bengals will ease WR A.J. Green back into on-field work.
- Colorado RB Travon McMillian has a workout coming up with the Ravens. (Ryan O’Halloran)
- Aaron Wilson reports that Valdosta State CB Stephen Denmark has an official visit with the Ravens.
- Maryland DL Byron Cowart has worked out for the Ravens. (Tony Pauline)
- Maryland DE/OLB Jesse Aniebonam worked out for the Ravens. (Aaron Wilson)