One of Antonio Brown’s hottest suitors might be backing off.
According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the Raiders are cooling down on chasing Brown due to possible contract disputes and losing a top draft pick.
Brown has said he wants a new contract with whichever teams signs him, which complicates matters for the Raiders. Chances are, they will have to give up a top draft pick for Brown, since the Steelers want a stout deal for him.
But the Raiders would inherit Browns’ current contract with the Steelers, which has three years left on it from the four-year, $68 million extension he signed at the beginning of 2017.
The Raiders also have bad history with trades from the Steelers — just look at the Martavis Bryant deal. The team also has expressed interest in soon-to-be free agent Tyrell Williams, who likely would be cheaper and less complicated than any deal with Brown.
The Raiders also need a top receiver, since they traded Amari Cooper to the Cowboys for a first-round draft pick.
Despite all this, Raiders coach Jon Gruden has expressed his love for Brown, saying in December “He can run every route you dream up.”
“I say that about other receivers, but he can run double move,” Gruden said. “He can run by you. He can run crossing routes. He’s very good after the catch. What’s the greatest thing about this man, I’ve told all of our receivers, if you get a chance to watch him practice, you’ll see what unlocks the greatness in him.
“He’s the hardest-working man, I think, in football. Hardest-working player I’ve ever seen practice. I’ve seen Jerry Rice. I’ve seen a lot of good ones. But I put Antonio Brown at the top. If there are any young wideouts out there, I’d go watch him practice. You figure out yourself why he’s such a good player.”
Per recent reports, the Steelers are expected to deal Brown as soon as Friday, although those same reports state that the Jets and Cardinals are out of the running.
Could the Raiders pull out next?