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The Steelers traded Antonio Brown to the Raiders for a 3rd round and 5th round pick. So the future hall of fame wide receiver, who still has 2-5 years left of elite playing ability left in him just went for the same trade price tag as a mid range talent. That's a steal for the Raiders.
On the face of it, all reports say this went down because Brown was so toxic for the Steelers franchise and locker room that they ultimately just wanted him out. That, coupled with him wanting more money. Which has been leading a lot of people to ask the question - Did Antonio Brown work the system here? Was there more than meets the eye with this trade?
I think so.
Brown just finished the last year of his contract that guaranteed him money. So he was about to enter the new season making less than any other elite wide receiver, if he were to have stayed quiet and continued on with his deal with Pitt. But with this trade to the Raiders, suddenly Brown keeps his contract and gets another $30 million added to his pockets in guaranteed money.
And all that happened was Antonio threw several fits throughout the season, he trolled and fought with his quarterback Big Ben. And he asked for more money. He went on social media and pulled a lot of stunts there too.
This sets a template. Even if all of this happened organically, which I don't think so, all an elite player has to do now to work around the CBA rules where players generally get screwed when their guaranteed money expires is become 'toxic' in the locker room and become so annoying to their franchise that they are willing to trade you away, apparently at any cost. Because a 3rd and 5th rounder for Brown is a joke.
I think the Steelers will be fine from this. They have really good receivers still on their team. And then look at the Raiders. That's even more interesting. They trade Amari Cooper away to the Cowboys and get a low end 1st round pick. And then they turn around and get arguably the best receiver in the game, an upgrade from Amari no doubt talent wise, for a 3rd and 5th. So they still have 3 1st round draft picks AND Antonio Brown. They look really really crafty right now.
Maybe it's all luck. Or maybe players, coaches and agents are figuring out how to game teams and make contracts happen by playing new kinds of games. I doubt this is the last time we see this go down. Just wait for when OBJ in New York decides its time to make more money.