A little less than a month ago, I drafted an article: “Your “Will the Chiefs trade for Antonio Brown?” post.”
I described that while it would be nice to add 114 receptions, 1,524 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2019 (based upon Brown’s six-year average), it was evident that the Chiefs would not trade for Brown.
And while I still believe that to be the case, I do have a question as to why it won’t happen.
Fast forward to this week.
During an offseason in which the Chiefs have already made rebuilding their defense a priority, CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora continues to tie the Chiefs to offensive changes.
On March 1, La Canfora connected the Chiefs to free agent running back Le’Veon Bell. On Wednesday, he wrote about how a team would hit a home run if they were to sign soon-to-be former Chiefs RB Spencer Ware.
.@JasonLaCanfora on @CBSSportsRadio with some interesting new info on AB trade: "If the Chiefs could do it, they would. I don't see the Steelers trading him to the Chiefs." He's also heard the ESPN interview caused some teams to back out of the trade talks.— Andrew Fillipponi (@ThePoniExpress) March 7, 2019
The inference that can be made from La Canfora’s quote is that the Chiefs picked up the phone and called the Pittsburgh Steelers, who are expected to have a deal in place by Friday.
Teams that have spoken to the Steelers about a potential Antonio Brown trade have been told that a deal is expected to be in place by Friday, per league sources.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 6, 2019
Some believe that the bidding for Brown is a “one-team race,” the Oakland Raiders being the odds-on favorite to land the 30-year-old receiver.
But The Ringer’s Kevin Clark chimed in with quotes made by Chiefs general manager Brett Veach from last preseason that caught my eye. Veach told Clark he was looking for receivers who do not “get paralyzed when they run their route.”
VEACH: “[Brown’s] the best I’ve ever seen at this. How many yards and catches does he get outside of the play that’s actually called? And Ben [Roethlisberger] knows. You see this amazing thing on tape: You’ll see Ben look and Antonio is covered, he looks off the backside, getting off his second, third, fourth looks, and you can see Antonio and it’s ‘There he is,’ and he’s 20 yards from where he’s supposed to be, but Ben knows where he’s going to end up. It’s wild.”
Sounds like something that might play well with Patrick Mahomes’ improvisational magic. The quote also reminded me of some of the things the Chiefs said about WR Sammy Watkins when the they signed him last offseason.
Chiefs head coach Andy Reid called Watkins a blue-chip player, and Veach said things like this:
VEACH: “It’s just hard to acquire these guys. When you’re sitting in free agency and you see a 24-year-old elite playmaker, you don’t get those opportunities a lot, and with what we have where we’re going ... we said we may not get this chance again ... we got one chance to go get him. Let’s make it happen.”
The Steelers presented a player who Veach covets but will never again have the chance at acquiring.
Do I think Veach picked up the phone? Absolutely, I do.
And the Steelers, if they were smart, politely hung up, unwilling to give the strongest AFC contenders of the next decade another way to beat them.