For those who live on the East coast and go to bed at a reasonable hour, let me fill you in on what happened last night:
- 11:28 pm — Ian Rapoport tweets that the Bills and Steelers are finalizing a deal to send Antonio Brown to Buffalo
- 12:36 am — Vic Carucci tweets that while the Bills have inquired about Antonio Brown, no deal is imminent and in fact, another league source termed it “unlikely.”
- 7:03 am — Adam Schefter tweets this quote from Bills’ GM Brandon Beane: “Beane: “We inquired about Antonio Brown on Tuesday, and kept talks open with the Steelers. 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.”
So there you have it: for roughly seven hours, Antonio Brown was a member of the Buffalo Bills and now that we’ve all awoken from our deep slumber, the dream (at least for table breaking Bills fans) is dead.
Personally, I couldn’t be happier the trade is dead.
Not just because I’m a Patriots fan—though this does bring me a certain amount of joy—but more because I’m a fantasy football fan. I’d been happily living in this state if disillusion that no matter where Brown went, he’d be a top 5 fantasy receiver and everything would move along smoothly. Even with notions of him going to the Raiders I convinced myself that yea, Derek Carr isn’t Ben Roelisberger but it’s Antonio Brown and nothing can stop Antonio Brown. Except I guess the Bills.
When I woke to the Bills news, I suddenly had visions of Josh Allen sailing ball after ball over Browns’ head in the most uncatchable of locations. Brown having to fight through triple teams because honestly, who else in Buffalo’s offense scares you? Zay Jones? Suddenly Brown’s fantasy invincibility didn’t seem as “in”. I mean, the Bills haven’t had a 1,200 yard receiver since Lee Evans in 2006 (thanks Evan Silva for that factoid). Brown has averaged 1,500 yards his last six season. I don’t want that to go die in Buffalo!
Shockingly, neither did Brown as it seems the reason this trade ultimately fell through was that Brown refused to get shipped off to Buffalo. (Some people might take offense to that, but good for you Brown. If teams are going to treat players as assets that they can trade willy nilly, I support any player who forces his say in the matter. But also, Buffalo seems like a really nice place to live and the Bills are on the upswing, even with my Josh Allen digs, and you’d struggle to find a more passionate fan base.)
But the Brown drama is far from over and in all likelihood, he’ll be going to a team that’s in a worse situation than the Steelers and I’ll have to start getting used to the idea that maybe Brown isn’t untouchable. That maybe he’ll be a top 10 fantasy receiver instead of the top 3 he’s been the past six years. A hard truth for me to swallow, but I’ll get there.
At least I can take solace in the fact that Antonio Brown won’t be catching balls from Josh Allen in 2019.