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Lions Have Second Best Odds To Land Antonio Brown From Steelers

Is he worth a first-round pick -- plus more?

January 11, 2019 - 10:25 am

Antonio Brown to the Lions? Don't count it out. 

After his fallout with the Steelers toward the end of the season that saw Brown skip practices and team meetings and ultimately get benched in Week 17, stemming in part from an incident with Ben Roethlisberger, there's a good chance the four-time All-Pro won't be back in Pittsburgh next season. Steelers president Art Rooney II told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Thursday that "it would be hard to envision" Brown being on the team when training camp opens in July. 

At this point, a trade seems likely. And the Lions appear to be a likely destination. 

Lions GM Bob Quinn said last week the team is in need of more playmakers. He also said they need to put more talent around Matthew Stafford. Brown would certainly fit the bill. He posted 100-plus receptions and 1,200-plus yards for the sixth straight time this season and led the league with 15 touchdowns. 

The 30-year-old is signed through 2021 with an average salary of $17 million. His cap hit next season is about $22 million, which would be Detroit's second highest after Stafford. 

The Lions have about $30 million in cap space at the moment, a number that could rise depending on how things shake out with the likes of Glover Quin and T.J. Lang. 

What would it take to land Brown? Start with a first-round pick. The Lions have the eighth overall selection in the 2019 draft. Another mid-round pick and a roster player would likely have to be part of the package as well. 

Given Quinn's comments last week and Detroit's need for another weapon in the passing game, expect the GM to look at this long and hard. And expect the Steelers to receive a number of offers. 

Rooney said the team will do its best to make things right with Brown, but it appears the damage has already been done. 

“That’s one of the questions we have to answer — whether we can get to a point where we all feel good about him being on the roster next year,” Rooney said. “We have a way to go before we feel good about that.”