NFL Steelers send unhappy top receiver Brown to Raiders


Washington (AFP)

Disgruntled NFL wide receiver Antonio Brown has found a new home with the Oakland Raiders in a trade deal to bring his long-anticipated exit from the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Brown indicated the move with a late on Saturday posting on Instagram showing himself in a Raiders uniform and multiple media reports early on Sunday indicated trade terms had been agreed upon by both clubs.

No trades can become official until the new NFL season for free agency and transfers opens on Wednesday, but it appears the Steelers will send Brown to Oakland for a third-round and fifth-round pick in the NFL Draft.

Brown will become the highest-paid receiver in the NFL, according to NFL Network and ESPN, with a new three-year deal worth $54.1 million with $30.1 million guaranteed. That provides a $19.8 million boost in annual income compared to his prior deal in Pittsburgh, where none of the money was guaranteed.

What the deal brings the Raiders, who plan to be playing out of Las Vegas next year, is a superior pass catcher who in nine NFL seasons, all with Pittsburgh, has caught 837 passes for 11,207 yards and 74 touchdowns.

Brown's issues with the Steelers stemmed from being benched for a game against Cincinnati in the final week of the season, reportedly after arguing with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

That led to a dispute with Steelers coach Mike Tomlin and Brown making public his desire for a trade, with the team needing to clear the air before next season as well and try to secure some value in return, although the draft picks are a far cry from where Brown was valued.

The fresh start for Brown, 30, will see Raiders quarterback Derek Carr have an instant top target and coach Jon Gruden boast a solid player to build around as the team looks to a new home and era.

"This is just a great fit for Antonio," Brown's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, told ESPN on Sunday. "He wanted a fresh start."

Brown tweeted a photo of himself and Carr as Pro Bowl teammates in 2018 with the caption "Love at first sight" and Carr retweeted it with the message: "Brother let's get to work!"

The Raiders have managed only one winning season and one playoff appearance since the 2002 season and have not secured a home stadium for the 2019 campaign, although a one-year return to their Oakland home venue is expected to be completed soon.