The reasons for the differences are obvious. First, the Steelers made it clear that they wanted to move on from Brown. The Giants, in contrast, insisted that they were keeping him. And the “we’ll keep him” posture often becomes the best leverage in trade talks.
Second, Antonio Brown embarked on a scorched earth/bleached ‘stache effort to get out of town. Beckham had engaged in no similar campaign to be traded.
It adds up to the Browns giving up a lot more to get Beckham (a one, a three, and Jabrill Peppers) than the Raiders gave up to get Brown, because the Giants were committed to perpetuating the ruse that under no circumstances would they trade him. The Giants played it the right way, and the Steelers simply didn’t.
Here’s another wrinkle to consider: Could the Browns have gotten Brown for less than what they gave up to get Beckham? Although the Steelers didn’t want to trade Brown in the division, an offer of simply a first-round pick may have been enough to get the Steelers to change their minds.
Regardless, as Brown exists the AFC North, Beckham enters — and the Browns instantly feel like the team to beat in the division.