Report: Broncos expected to pursue Steelers' Brown
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The Denver Broncos are expected to be one of several teams interested in trading for Pittsburgh Steelers wideout Antonio Brown this offseason, NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported Saturday.
The report adds that there have been no moves toward reconciliation with the team on Brown's part, and the Steelers may actively seek a trade rather than merely listening to offers. Per Rapoport, several general managers around the league believe Pittsburgh should be able to get a second-round pick and perhaps a bit more in return, though a first-rounder appears unlikely.
The Steelers' leverage is likely diminished by Brown's contract -- he is owed about $39 million over the next three years -- and the team's openness about considering move on.
Team president Art Rooney II said in an interview Thursday with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that it's "hard to envision" Brown back with the team next year, after the wideout skipped practices and meetings during Week 17 and has been out of communication with the team since the season ended. Rooney added he believes the recent issue is part of a broader problem with Brown that must be addressed.
"We'll look at all the options," Rooney said "We're not going to release him, that's not on the table. But I will say all other options are on the table. Whether the situation can be reconciled and have him back on the team next year, we're a long way away from thinking that can happen. We're not closing the door on anything at this point."
The Broncos are projected to have around $37 million in cap space this offseason, a number that could grow with the release of a few veterans.
They traded away wideout Demaryius Thomas during the 2018 season, both because he was not in their long-term plans and to open up snaps for rookie receivers Courtland Sutton and Dae'Sean Hamilton. Emmanuel Sanders -- a former teammate of Brown's in Pittsburgh -- tore his Achilles in practice late in the season and will turn 32 in March.
Brown, who turns 31 in July, is coming off his sixth straight Pro Bowl appearance after totaling 104 catches for 1,297 yards and 15 touchdowns. He was named first-team All-Pro four years in a row from 2014 to 2017.
Other teams that could be interested, per Rapoport, and have plenty of cap space are the Indianapolis Colts (projected $122 million) New York Jets ($98 million) and San Francisco 49ers ($46 million).
Brown can't be dealt until the 2019 NFL calendar officially begins on March 13. The Steelers would likely make a decision on his status before March 17, when he is due a $2.5 million roster bonus.