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For the past two months, Antonio Brown has made it clear he wants out of Pittsburgh. His public disgruntlement with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, no-show in Pittsburgh’s season finale, and public courting of other teams (particularly the 49ers) have dominated the early offseason period.
There were just a couple problems — Pittsburgh had to sign off and another team had to sign up.
Well, the first part is now done. On Tuesday morning, Steelers owner Art Rooney II and Brown met face to face. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Brown’s agent Drew Rosenhaus, Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert, and executive Omar Kahn joined in on the meeting. All sides agreed that trading the seven-time Pro Bowler is “for the best,” according to Schefter.
Brown posted the picture below to Instagram.
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Had a great meeting with Mr.Rooney today we discussed a lot of things and we cleared the air on several issues! 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
Rooney previously said it would be “hard to envision” Brown as a Steeler next year, but this is the first time he will reportedly actively seek trades for Brown.
Now, the followup questions: which teams are candidates to land Brown, and what do the Steelers want in return?
It’s unknown if the 49ers are interested, but Brown has made it clear he wants to join them. Throughout the past two months, Brown has exchanged tweets with 49ers players, had multiple conversations with Jerry Rice, and asked Terrell Owens about what it’s like to live in the Bay Area.
All of the activity has led to a nauseating level of speculation that the 49ers will make a play for Brown, which, at this point, has not happened. Kyle Shanahan has long said he would add anyone who would improve the 49ers for the right price. Brown qualifies.
The 49ers have assets. They released three expensive veterans in the past month, leaving the team with about $72 million in cap space. The 49ers also have four selections in the first 97 picks of April’s draft. While they don’t want to trade their No. 2 overall pick, they could dangle the No. 36, No. 67, or No. 97 selection to the Steelers.
Trades can’t officially go through until March 13, the start of the new league year, but teams can agree to terms. Until then, the Brown speculation will continue.