The New England Patriots have made their fair share of noteworthy deals in the Bill Belichick era, but it looks like the Super Bowl LIII champs will be out of the running for the crowned jewel of the upcoming trade market.
Antonio Brown’s days in Pittsburgh appear to be numbered, as the star wide receiver bid farewell to Steelers fans in an Instagram post Tuesday afternoon. Brown has not yet been released nor dealt, but it’s hard to imagine the four-time All-Pro reconciling with his original franchise at this point.
As such, the attention now turns to where Brown possibly could end up. And according to CBS’ Jason La Canfora, you already can rule out the Patriots, as well as the rest of the AFC North.
La Canfora’s report isn’t terribly surprising. The Patriots and Steelers have been relatively fierce rivals for nearly two decades now, with New England coming out on top in the majority of the teams’ head-to-head matchups. Pittsburgh likely still will be a playoff contender even without Brown, but its Super Bowl aspirations would become even tougher if Brown took residence in Foxboro.
Some might have imagined the Patriots would steer clear of Brown trade anyway, especially considering the likely high asking price and the 30-year-old’s propensity for causing headaches. But wide receiver will be an area of need for New England this offseason, as Chris Hogan, Cordarrelle Patterson and Phillip Dorsett all are set to hit the open market.
While Brown could have helped fill one of those potential voids and then some, it sure sounds like Belichick and Co. will have to look elsewhere.