Brown got off to a quick start with his new team, hauling in four passes for 56 yards and one touchdown in the Patriots' 43-0 win over the Miami Dolphins. According to CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora, it was the fulfillment of what Belichick long had envisioned for the dynamic receiver, as he reportedly first attempted to acquire Brown at the end of the 2018 season, before he was traded to the Raiders.
"[Belichick] was among the first executives to call about Brown 's availability when the Steelers made it clear the perennial Pro Bowler had no future there," La Canfora reported Sunday. "Initially, league sources said, when asked the price to land Brown, the Steelers requested a first-round pick plus another player or draft pick of significance."
However, Belichick's hopes reportedly were dashed by an ongoing rivalry.
"Belichick immediately responded that would not a problem," La Canfora continued, "but before he could put together any specific package, the Steelers informed him that New England was among a small group of rivals with which management was no longer authorized to negotiate with."
The desire for the receiver to be in New England reportedly was mutual between him and his new coach.
"Brown's preference from the onset was to leave Pittsburgh for the Patriots," La Canfora reported, citing sources with knowledge of the situation, "and he eventually scuttled a trade to Buffalo and then quickly wore out his welcome in Oakland to end up there on what is essentially a one-year, $10 million deal, with another $5 million in incentives and a $20 million option for the 2020 season."
While Belichick has a history of bringing in talented players who have otherwise worn out their welcome elsewhere, his long-term pursuit of Brown -- and the price he was willing to pay -- suggests this isn't a Hail Mary but rather an educated bet he's placing on a receiver whose talents he knows all too well.
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NFL rumors: Steelers rejected Patriots' huge Antonio Brown trade offer originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area