The drama surrounding Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown has become an issue that just won’t go away for the Pittsburgh Steelers, and even though now Brown does want to go away, his behavior has complicated matters.
His latest act came on Tuesday, when Brown, who is set to earn $40 million over the three years remaining on his contract, demanded a trade from Pittsburgh.
In a fashion befitting the circus-like atmosphere Brown has helped create over the last year, he made his request not to team officials or even though his agent, but through a self-celebratory post on social media, fittingly set to the song “Now I Do What I Want.”
— Antonio Brown (@AB84) February 12, 2019
That came the same day Brown no-showed in court and was convicted of reckless driving for traveling over 100 mph in Ross Township, just another black mark against the talented receiver, who is also being investigated by the NFL due to a domestic abuse allegation, is being sued after allegedly nearly striking a boy with objects thrown from the balcony of his former condo, and that’s just the legal issues.
As his bizarre behavior continues to mount, his trade value decreases by the day, which complicates matters for Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert and owner Art Rooney II.
The Steelers have made it pretty clear they don’t want Brown back, and rightly so. But they also want to try and get as much compensation for him in return as possible.
From his bizarre off-season behavior, to the legal issues and to him quitting on the team last year, what if Brown has prevented the Steelers from getting a proper trade return for him?
Despite his off-the-field issues, Brown is still one of the league’s most talented wide receivers. What should the Steelers do if other teams are offering little in return?
Two things they can’t do are 1) give him away for nothing and 2) give into his demands.
If the team can’t get proper value for him, I’d play hardball. By that I mean, I’d pay him his contact and tell him not come near the team facility. The salary cap hit the Steelers will take to trade Brown will be almost as much as if he stays and doesn’t play, so there’s little financial benefit to trading him. The Steelers owe him all that money anyway.
Considering he’s entered his thirties, Brown doesn’t have many years left as an elite receiver. The two things that Brown seems to love are 1) Antonio Brown and 2) playing football.
If the Steelers can’t get good value for him because of his actions, they should take that second option away from him.
Additionally, by not being visible on the field, companies that are paying Brown to endorse their products won’t be happy with the lessened exposure.
Use Brown as an example to players currently on the team and to future players that me-first behavior won’t be tolerated anymore.
This would be a sign of the Steelers front office taking back control of things. Over the last handful of years, the public perceptions has become that the team is not in control of whats happening in the locker room. Doing something drastic like this would no-doubt negatively impact the 2019 Steelers, but things need to change and maybe Brown will be the catalyst for that.
In his own world, Brown thinks he controls this situation with his trade demand, but in reality, the Steelers hold the cards. If they can’t get real value in a trade, they can prevent Brown’s business from booming.