It’s possible that business is about to pick up in the Antonio Brown sweepstakes.
Open for business
— Antonio Brown (@AB84) January 24, 2019
In what can be best described as cryptic, Brown’s first tweet on Thursday is left open for interpretation. Especially since a crummy end to Pittsburgh’s season has complicated matters.
If you recall, Brown missed the season finale due to knee soreness that limited him in practice, but that might’ve actually been a cover-up to what was really going on behind the scenes. Indeed, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that Brown had a dust-up with a teammate, then refused to take part in practice in the days leading up to the game. It has since been reported that the incident was with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (and apparently wasn’t pretty). All this led to reports of Brown requesting a trade, but they were rebuffed shortly after they came up. Brown’s tweet, on the other-hand, is dragging some attention in that direction again.
So what about the Bears? Could they possible make a move for Brown? Obviously, adding Brown to the Bears’ mix of playmakers and teaming him with Pro Bowl quarterback Mitch Trubisky is the stuff of dreams. But the Bears don’t seem like a likely landing spot at the moment, given the lack of draft capital needed to acquire someone of his stature (let alone the cap space on the roster). And yet, we have seen Bears GM Ryan Pace pull rabbits out of his hat before, so we don’t want to dismiss it completely out of hand.
As Kevin Fishbain of The Athletic points out, this exchange between Pace and a reporter at the Bears’ season-ending press conference was worth a chuckle:
This is above “no chance” only because Ryan Pace was asked about it in a clever way in his end-of-season press conference. The question posed to Pace: “If Player A became available and he had the same track record as Antonio Brown, would you go after that player?” The GM, and everyone, laughed, and he responded, “Yes.”
Alright, so – at minimum – Pace is going to check into the Brown sweepstakes if it truly becomes open for business. That’s what good front office executives do when premier players jump onto the market. I just wouldn’t throw down a significant wager and bet on a deal coming to fruition with the Bears. Even still, superstar players like Brown only change teams so often, and wherever he lands, it could wind up impacting the Bears by extension.
Moreover, he’s such a stud that it’s just fascinating to follow what’s going to happen. That’s why we’re tracking this for you (and for ourselves).