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Will the Eagles try to trade for Antonio Brown?

Eliot Shorr-Parks
January 12, 2019 - 5:30 am

The Eagles have a playoff matchup in New Orleans on Sunday against the Saints, but that isn't stopping fans from keeping an eye on the offseason and how this team can improve. 

As usual, Eagles' fans are thinking big. 

The Eagles have plenty of needs. We will be discussing their biggest needs once the season ends. 

With one day to go before their game against the Saints, however, lets take a look at the Eagles' chances of making a move for Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown, who multiple reports suggest will likely be moved this offseason. Recently, Steelers president Art Rooney II said to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that his team would be open to any options other than releasing Brown. 

"There's not much we can do right now; we have time to make a decision," Rooney said. "We'll look at all the options. We're not going to release him, that's not on the table. But I will say all other options are on the table."

If Brown does hit the trade market, it will be interesting to see what kind of interest there is. Brown is without question one of the best receivers in the NFL -- maybe the best receiver. There is no denying the off-the-field drama that happened at the end of the season between Brown and the Steelers, however, will have an impact on is market. His contract could also play a factor in how many teams are willing to give up a valuable asset for Brown. 

Brown has three years remaining on his current deal, with base salaries of $12.6 million, $11.3 million and $12.5 million remaining. The Steelers would have to eat $21 million in dead money to trade Brown, but if they are open to it, that dead money won't impact his new team. That means the Eagles, or any team that makes a move for Brown, would be landing him for a very reasonable $12.6 million next season with zero guaranteed for the rest of the deal. 

Fitting Brown under the salary cap, if he were to stay on his current deal, would be possible for the Eagles. Although they are currently projected to be $12 million over the salary cap this offseason, they will be able to open up salary cap space fairly quickly, especially if they move on from quarterback Nick Foles and offensive tackle Jason Peters, two moves that appear to very likely. The Eagles will likely end up with somewhere around $20-25 million in salary cap space. 

Committing $12.6 million of that to Brown, however, seems unlikely. 

As good as Brown is, the Eagles have to work on finding a new left tackle, two new defensive ends, a down-the-field threat at receiver and a number of other holes on the roster. In addition, there is a still a possibility that the Eagles could extend quarterback Carson Wentz this offseason, which would have a major impact on the salary cap in 2019. Brown would help the offense, but unless he is willing to sign a new contract with a lower cap hit, his pay alone won't make up for all the holes the team won't be able to fill if they commit so much money to the receiver. 

The Eagles have the assets to make a deal with three picks in the first two rounds. It would be surprising, however, if the Eagles ended up landing Brown. 

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