The standout wide receiver, who has been the subject of trade speculation all offseason, appeared to be on the verge of becoming the newest member of the Buffalo Bills until trade talks fell through.
"We inquired about Antonio Brown on Tuesday, and kept talks open with the Steelers," Bills general manager Brandon Beane said in a statement Friday. "We had positive discussions, but ultimately it didn't make sense for either side. As great a player as Antonio Brown is, we have moved on and our focus is on free agency."
Beane’s statement was released hours after NFL Network reported Thursday the Bills and Steelers were closing in on a trade deal. The wide receiver appeared to throw cold water on the report when he replied “fake news” to a post about the potential deal posted on the NFL’s official Instagram account.
While seeing Brown in Buffalo would have been a strange development since the Bills weren’t among the teams reportedly vying for his services, the Bills certainly could use a player of his caliber to bolster their playmaker-needy offense. With $76 million in salary-cap space, per Overthecap.com, Buffalo has plenty of money to play with in free agency, but Brown is the best offensive player available outside of soon-to-be free agent Le’Veon Bell.
As for Brown, it appears the Steelers are close to officially parting ways with the seven-time Pro Bowler, who requested to be traded after having a falling out with the team late in the season. A sixth-round pick by the Steelers in 2010, Brown led the league in receiving yards in 2014 and 2015. He was Pittsburgh’s leading wide receiver from 2013 to 2017, but he finished behind second-year receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster’s 1,426 yards last year.