Steelers owner Art Rooney II and wide receiver Antonio Brown will meet in Florida in an effort to clear the air, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter) hears. Initially, Brown was hesitant to meet, but this could be a big step towards reconciliation for the two sides.
Brown has not been bashful about airing his grievances in public and has let the world know that he wants a trade. If things can’t be worked out quickly, trade discussions could ramp up during the draft combine period in Indianapolis.
The Steelers are reluctant to trade Brown because he is one of the game’s best wide receivers and dealing him would result in a major dead money cap charge. Meanwhile, word on the street is that they are unlikely to even fetch a first-round pick for him.
Of course, Brown has not done himself any favors by saying he wants a new deal if traded. The Steelers have lost a great deal of leverage over the past couple of months thanks to Brown’s outspokenness and the Steelers proved their mettle last year when they held their ground in the Le’Veon Bell standoff. Ultimately, the Steelers may be willing to play a game of chicken with Brown until he’s willing to mend fences with Ben Roethlisberger, Mike Tomlin, and other key figures in the organization.
One way or another, we should have a resolution by March 17, when Brown is due a $2.5MM roster bonus. If he is still on the Steelers’ roster on March 18, then he is likely to still be on it come Week 1.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.