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George Kittle starts the recruiting of Antonio Brown

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Yes, please!

The Pittsburgh Steelers face some kind of issue with Antonio Brown. The star wide receiver missed the team’s season finale, and Monday saw a report claiming it was for non-injury reasons. Specifically, he had a dispute with Ben Roethlisberger on Wednesday that resulted in Brown throwing a football in Roethlisberger’s direction and then not practicing for the rest of the week. The whole thing has resulted in plenty of speculation as to Brown’s future with the team.

Enter San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle.

And then a response from Brown.

Coaches and front office personnel are not allowed to recruit players under contract to another team, but players have generally been able to have exchanges like this. John Lynch couldn’t tweet this, but Kittle and other players can.

Brown has been having some issues with the Steelers this year, but a trade seems unlikely, at least for the time being. If they were to trade him at the start of the new league year (trades will be discussed before March, but cannot be executed until then), they would carry $21,120,000 in dead money in 2019, and clear $1,045,000 in cap space. The Steelers regularly defer money through signing bonuses rathe than paying more up front. They currently have a little over $28 million in cap space in 2019, but have plenty of other issues to address on the roster.

If they were intent on trading Brown, they could wait until after June 1st. After that date, a trade would carry $7 million in dead money in 2019 and then $14 million in 2020. A deal seems unlikely, but you never know what might happen over the next eight months.

In the meantime, keep on recruiting, George!

Fooch’s update: No surprise Jimmy G liked the tweet!