The Antonio Brown sweepstakes took many twists and turns late Thursday night and into Friday morning.
First, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported the Steelers were closing in on a deal to send the disgruntled receiver to the Bills.
Brown, however, responded to NFL.com’s official Instagram account saying Rapoport’s report was “fake news”. The Buffalo News’ Vic Carucci later tweeted that sources told him the Bills inquired about Brown but that no deal was imminent and that a trade between the clubs was unlikely.
If that wasn’t enough trade talk, ESPN’s Dianna Russini tweeted that sources told her the Packers have an interest in acquiring Brown.
But if two teams are still in the hunt, it would contradict an earlier report, in which a source told ESPN.com that it’s down to a “one-team race … I think the other teams decided the price was too high.”
Earlier Thursday, the three teams most closely linked in talks with the Steelers were the Titans, Redskins and Raiders.
According to Rapoport, the Bills were the stealth team that leapt to the forefront. The Bills, under second-year quarterback Josh Allen, need a wide receiver and would seem to be a good fit from a need standpoint. But teaming Brown with Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay obviously would be a dangerous combination.
Rapoport also said in an on-air interview that the deal isn’t finalized, adding that Brown, who has three years left on his contract, has said in the past he would like a longer-term deal with whatever new team he joined.
Here’s the full interview: