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NFL free agency rumors: Antonio Brown trade could happen this week; don’t count on the Patriots’ involvement

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Pittsburgh is apparently ready to move on from the star wideout.

NFL: Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

One of the New England Patriots’ main rivals for the AFC this century is undergoing a period of turmoil: not only will running back Le’Veon Bell leave the Pittsburgh Steelers soon — possibly for the New York Jets — but another core member of the club’s offense is also likely on the move. Earlier this offseason, Antonio Brown demanded a trade and it now looks as if the Steelers will meet his demands.

According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport and ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Pittsburgh has told teams that a move will be made soon — potentially as early as Friday — and that three more clubs have joined the sweepstakes. Meanwhile, the Jets and Arizona Cardinals are reportedly no longer in the race for the 30-year old’s services. Needless to say that the next 48ish hours will be rather interesting around the league.

As is the case with any rumor, the Patriots’ name will inevitably be brought up at one point through the process — even though it seems unlikely that the Steelers will trade the star wideout to their long-time rival unless a potential offer is too good to pass on. That being said, New England needs help at the wide receiver position and Brown is a bona fide talent that would likely work tremendously well alongside Tom Brady.

While his age and contract — Brown is due $12.625 million in 2019, $11.3 million in 2020, and $12.5 million in 2021 — in combination with the asking price likely do not make a move worth it from New England’s perspective, stranger things have happened before. Ultimately, however, you should not expect to see Mr. Big Chest wear a Patriots uniform anytime soon: too many teams will likely be in on the Pro Bowler for the world champions to make any impact, if they even want to do so.