We may be heading into spring, but the Detroit Lions rumors are just starting to heat up. With a lot of money under the salary cap to maneuver in 2019, the Lions have the flexibility to make some deals. Can the Lions somehow acquire Steelers wideout and former Central Michigan star Antonio Brown? The odds may not be as poor as you think.

Steelers only dealing Brown to NFC?

Recently, baseball star Manny Machado signed the biggest contract in modern sports history. Because Machado is one of the best in the game, that doesn’t surprise many folks. What did surprise a lot of fans is that he signed with the San Diego Padres.

The Padres have some talent and are considered a team to watch in 2019 – as it is with the Detroit Lions.

Detroit has a ton of talented young players. The Lions defense under first-year coach Matt Patricia jumped from No. 27 in the NFL all the way up to No. 10. Adding Brown would give the offense a much-needed boost and make this team immensely better overall. According to a recent report, the Detroit Lions chances of trying to strike a deal with Pittsburgh, if they chose to, just got better.

SI.com (via ESPN) is reporting that the Pittsburgh Steelers consider the New England Patriots and the AFC North as "no-trade zones," period. To take that a step further, they actually aren’t high on the idea of dealing Brown to any AFC teams unless the offer is just too good to pass on.

“Pittsburgh would rather see Brown play with an NFC team” said Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.

Odds update

The statement made by ESPN's Fowler changes everything. One thing to keep in mind - the Steelers are in control of this deal, not Brown. Everyone knows that Brown will want to go to a team that he believes can contend for a Super Bowl title in the next 2-3 seasons.

And after numerous reports of Brown and the Steelers' front office wanting what is best for both sides, it seems like they are both willing to bend just a bit to make a deal happen.

So why not Detroit?

It’s now or never to finally make a splash with a big name. The Lions chances of winning the NFC North would be among the top contenders if they can land Brown.

Even if Brown posted his average numbers, and the Lions could keep a healthy run game, this team would look a whole heck of a lot different in 2019. While only considering NFC teams, oddsmakers have moved the Lions to +4000 to +800. That is a huge jump!

The San Francisco 49ers are still listed as the top favorites at +400.