ab trade
Antonio Brown #84 of the Pittsburgh Steelers celebrates after scoring a touchdown during the first quarter against the Miami Dolphins in the AFC Wild Card game at Heinz Field on January 8, 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The expected became official late Saturday night. The Pittsburgh Steelers ended months of drama and speculation by trading star wide receiver Antonio Brown to the Oakland Raiders for draft picks.

A player of Brown’s caliber might normally warrant at least one high draft pick, but that is not what the Steelers got for Brown. Sources close to the situation told USA Today that Oakland gave up just third and fifth round picks for the explosive wideout, who represents an immediate upgrade at the position for the Raiders.

The trade cannot become official until Wednesday, when the NFL’s league year starts. The Brown trade and any others that have been agreed upon, like the Denver Broncos’ trades involving quarterbacks Joe Flacco and Case Keenum, will become reality at 4 p.m. ET that day.

That said, Brown made it clear he is excited to play for the Raiders on Twitter on Saturday night.

Media reports indicated Brown was heading to the Buffalo Bills late last week, but the wideout reportedly vetoed that trade. Once it was clear he was not going to Buffalo, the Raiders became the center of speculation.

Oakland did not have a single player eclipse 900 receiving yards in 2018. The Raiders’ offensive struggles led to questions about quarterback Derek Carr’s long-term viability, but Brown should help, if he stays healthy. The 30-year-old receiver has caught more than 100 passes in each of the past six seasons.

The Raiders had plenty of salary cap room to work with and a huge number of draft picks to give away after trading stars Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper over the past year. However, Jon Gruden’s squad ended up hanging onto all of its first-round picks; the Steelers apparently could not get more than a third and a fifth for Brown.

The departure of Brown and the likely departure of Le’Veon Bell will leave the Steelers fairly depleted of offensive talent going into 2019. The best hope for Pittsburgh might be young receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster. The 22-year-old exploded in 2018, catches 111 passes for 1,426 yards and seven touchdowns.

After news of the trade broke, Smith-Schuster tweeted that he was ready to take over.