When you hear about anonymous teams wanting to trade for Antonio Brown, just know the Kansas City Chiefs won’t be one such team.
Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert recently confirmed that three teams had already called to check in on the availability of wide receiver Antonio Brown in a trade. Given the mystery surrounding those teams, we just to make one thing clear: it was not the Kansas City Chiefs.
The idea of the Chiefs adding Antonio Brown is an exciting idea if you’re playing the Madden franchise or constructing a roster without any ramifications in place other than on-field production. Yes, Brown is a wonderful talent who is likely on a Hall of Fame trajectory. There’s no real weakness to his game, and his presence with Patrick Mahomes and company would craft the single best offense in NFL history without question.
It’s on the walk back to the locker room that it all falls apart.
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Brown has already proven himself to be a divisive player, the mercurial sort of figure that the Chiefs don’t exactly want hanging around in Arrowhead. (See Exhibit A: Marcus Peters trade.) The Chiefs recent track record shows that they’re willing to make a hard decision in order to lose a player they cannot trust, whether in trading Peters or releasing Kareem Hunt. Does it really make sense that they would trade valuable assets and invest significant money in Antonio Brown on that level? Not in the slightest.
Back to those investments. Even if you could talk yourself into Brown as a model player once he’s in his new environs, the reality is that the Chiefs simply cannot afford it. The Steelers have made it clear they will keep Brown unless they get something worth it on their end, which means high draft assets. The Chiefs, already on the cusp of the salary cap with several hard decisions to make, need as many impact players on rookie deals as possible.
RIght now the Chiefs have 3 of the top 63 picks in the draft, a nice number that could potentially net three long-term starters who will all contribute on a slotted rookie scale. That’s an asset the Chiefs can ill afford to trade.
In addition, Brown comes with a massive long-term extension that’s already reached its zenith. Brown’s cap hit is a monstrous $22 million this coming season and hovers just short of $20 million for each of the next two years. Where can the Chiefs remotely begin to fit that in? To bring in Brown would force the team to cut talent at a number of other positions—only to strengthen the best asset on the team (the passing game).
The idea of trading for Brown is nice, but there’s a reason the Chiefs are among the worst overall odds in Vegas—it’s a ridiculous longshot. Fans can dream, but the reality is that Brown is headed elsewhere, no matter how much mystery surrounds the process.