Antonio Brown watch has hit a milestone: Ian Rapoport reports the Pittsburgh Steelers are open to making a trade with their wide receiver. This comes off a report this morning further going into the fractured relationship between him and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
The wide receiver gets a $2.5 million roster bonus on the third day of the new league year (with the date in mind that would fall on March 16), so that may be the deadline for a decision to be made. The Steelers would save $1 million in cap space if they dealt him and create $15 million in cash savings. The cost of keeping Brown is $22 million vs. $21 million if he’s off.
The money is the first thing. The next thing to consider is the price. On his Gameday Morning segment, Rapoport said the Steelers are looking for a first round pick to secure Brown’s services. The San Francisco 49ers are picking second in the 2019 NFL draft so that makes a first rounder even more steep if they were to get a deal going.
Per Pro Football Talk, Brown himself is exploring his options. Brown claimed he had no leverage on Twitter this morning when responding to a tweet discussing Peter King’s omission of Brown from his (King’s) All-Pro ballot.
As for the whole incident that started this? Originally there was an incident Roethlisberger throwing a football. It turns out it runs a bit deeper. According to NFL Analyst James Jones, he’s heard from multiple people Brown would get repeated heckling from Roethlisberger. It culminated in Brown running the wrong route and Roethlisberger wanting him off the field.
So it may not be the Steelers and Brown not playing nice, it looks like Brown and Roethlisberger can’t play nice. We’re a long ways off from the 49ers looking into this, especially for the steep price of a 30-year old wide receiver, but there is some movement.