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Antonio Brown trade talks ‘heating up’ with Raiders emerging as betting favorite

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A deal could be done soon.

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers are pushing teams to present their best offer for wide receiver Antonio Brown, with hopes to get a deal done by Friday, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Three new, unknown teams have thrown their hat in the ring, while the New York Jets, Arizona Cardinals, and Denver Broncos have withdrawn from the bidding, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

How much of that is fact, and how much is the Steelers trying to boost a potential deal? It is likely a mix of both. The Steelers want to force a deal sooner rather than later, and they are also likely trying to artificially boost the price.

The Oakland Raiders are currently the betting favorite at, with odds set at +350, per OddsShark. They are followed by the the Tennessee Titans (+550), Arizona Cardinals (+750), and Green Bay Packers (+1000). The San Francisco 49ers, Cleveland Browns, and Indianapolis Colts are all tied at +1200.

The 49ers had been viewed as the favorite for much of the past two months. They need an offensive playmaker, and Brown had been openly flirting with the organization on social media. That has quieted down, and we are now at a point where the serious teams are the focus.

The Raiders make a lot of sense given their need for playmakers, but they also have a need because they dealt away wide receiver Amari Cooper last year. Brown would be a strong replacement, but if he is looking for a boost in his guaranteed money, one has to wonder if the Raiders might eventually step away from the bidding.

And we still don’t know what the Steelers think they can get for Brown. The Raiders have three first-round picks, and Jon Gruden has shown a willingness to throw caution to the wind. The fact the Steelers appear to be pushing for more offers suggest they’re not quite happy with what Oakland or other teams might be offering. We’ll see if Gruden is willing to get a little crazy.