While there are some clear financial hurdles to overcome, the Steelers will be listening to offers for Antonio Brown this offseason. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports that the organization is “expected to consider trade requests” for their star wide receiver prior to the start of free agency.
As our own Zach Links previously detailed, the Steelers may be a bit wary of trading or cutting Brown due to the impending financial implications. Thanks in part to the $19MM signing bonus he received in his four-year, $68MM extension and the $12.96MM restructuring bonus he later secured, cutting or trading Brown would result in a $21.12MM cap charge for 2019.
However, as Rapoport points out, the Steelers could see some slight savings if they trade Brown prior to the third day of the league year. The receiver is due a $2.5MM roster bonus on that date, and trading Brown would save the team $1MM in cap savings. Furthermore, the team would also see around $15MM in “cash savings.”
Of course, the Steelers aren’t simply looking to give Brown away. Rapoport writes that several team executives believe the asking price is a first-round pick, while others believe it’d take “multiple high picks” in order to pry him away from Pittsburgh. On the flip side, other source told Rapoport that they wouldn’t be surprised if the organization somehow remedies the situation, leading to the receiver sticking with the Steelers in 2019.
Following his curious behavior leading up to a crucial Week 17, there have been conflicting reports about whether Brown requested a trade out of Pittsburgh. If the 30-year-old is indeed on his way out, the Steelers surely won’t be lacking for suitors. While it was a “down year” by his standards, Brown still finished the campaign with 104 receptions for 1,297 yards and a league-leading 15 touchdown receptions.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.