The Raiders were believed to be a contender for receiver Antonio Brown from the moment the Steelers made it clear they were moving on from him. But the Raiders wisely were coy, resisting making the first move — and as a result pilfering him from Pittsburgh.
G.M. Mike Mayock explained how things went down during a Friday visit to The Dan Patrick Show.
“I kept saying, ‘We’re not interested,'” Mayock said. “Then the Buffalo thing fell through. One of their guys reached out to Jon [Gruden]. . . . [Steelers GM] Kevin [Colbert] said to me, ‘Would you trade your two? I said, ‘No, but we might trade our three.'”
Last year, the Raiders traded their three from the trade down from No. 10 to No. 15 to the Steelers for receiver Martavis Bryant, so it was definitely going to take more than that to get Brown. Ultimately, the Raiders got Brown for a three and a five, a deal that looks even better after the Browns gave up a one, a three, and a player taken with a first-round pick in 2017 to get Odell Beckham.
The outcome reconfirms the value of a poker face when negotiating trades. The Steelers failed to create the impression that they’d keep Brown, although they tried (too late) to change the perception/reality that they would take whatever they can get. The Raiders opted to say “not interested,” “not interested,” “not interested,” “not interested,” and “did I stutter?” until the price dropped to a point where the Raiders got interested.