The New England Patriots, at least according to NFL agent Drew Rosenhaus, were interested in trading for Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown before he was ultimately dealt to the Oakland Raiders earlier this month.
Brown, during the first episode of his own podcast, "The Boomin Experience Podcast", shared audio of a conversation he had with Rosenhaus before the Steelers-Raiders trade went down. The New England Patriots, as well as their head coach Bill Belichick, quarterback Tom Brady and owner Robert Kraft all were mentioned.
Here's part of that conversation. Click here to listen to the full clip.
Rosenhaus: "If it's not the Raiders, then we'll make it work with the Eagles, or the Patriots, or the Titans.
Brown: "Are the Patriots ready, too?"
Rosenhaus: "The Patriots are in the mix. I put Belichick in touch with (Steelers general manager) Kevin Colbert today."
Brown: "How is a decision going to come down? Is it going to come down to what club is willing to give up the most?"
New England Patriots
Rosenhaus: "From the Steelers' standpoint, that's what they want. They want the most compensation. I really want you to have a good quarterback ... and a winning environment. New England and Philadelphia, these are two of the last Super Bowl champs. ..."
The Patriots came up again later in the conversation.
Rosenhaus: "The Steelers have been big communicators with me. We've talked a couple times everyday about the teams. They know (playing in a winning environment is) important to us, and that's why they opened it up for the Patriots as well. That's a good development for us. They're now willing to trade you to New England. So, now it's a process of New England stepping up. That's not great business for the Steelers to trade you to the world champs in the same conference."
Here's another part of the convo where the Patriots came up.
Rosenhaus: "And I think the Steelers are taking it very seriously and trying to get it done. And that's why they're willing to consider even New England. Think about that, think about playing with the greatest quarterback in NFL history, and he's a cool guy."
There are other parts of the conversation that involve the Patriots as well. Rosenhaus expressed confidence in being able to get a contract done with the Patriots if it came to that point, saying "I don’t think we’ll have any problem getting a deal done with these guys."
Brown also at one point called Kraft "a cool guy, too."
Rosenhaus listed teams that wanted Brown, including the Patriots, Eagles, Titans, Washington Redskins, Buffalo Bills and the Raiders. Oakland ultimately stepped up and paid a small price (third- and fifth-round draft picks) to get a deal for Brown done.
The Patriots certainly need a player of Brown's caliber, especially after losing tight end Rob Gronkowski to retirement earlier this week. New England has made no major upgrades at tight end or wide receiver in the offseason so far, but they still have 12 picks in next month's 2019 NFL Draft, and some of those selections could be used in a blockbuster trade if Belichick finds a deal to his liking.
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