This has been building for a while, with Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com tweeting Brown is tired of being scapegoated for the Steelers’ problems and seeks a new start. Although Adam Schefter of ESPN.com adds (via Twitter) Brown has submitted a trade request to the Steelers, the ball will still be in the team’s court. It will cost the Steelers to trade the disgruntled superstar.
If Pittsburgh deals the soon-to-be 31-year-old wide receiver before March 17, it would tag the franchise with just more than $21MM in dead money. That number rises to $23.2MM after St. Patrick’s Day, because of a $2.5MM bonus due that day. A trade after June 1 would allow the team to avoid absorbing that cap hit all at once. No trade can be finalized until March 13, when the new league year opens.
On Tuesday, Brown was also found guilty for reckless driving after failing to appear in court, per Fowler (on Twitter). In November, police cited Brown for driving over 100 mph through a Pittsburgh suburb. Although it will only cost Brown $426.00, it adds to his list of off-field developments.
If the $20MM-plus in dead money were not enough of a deterrent for the Steelers to unload their four-time All-Pro first-teamer, Brown’s more significant off-field issue may well lower teams’ demand. One of the mothers of Brown’s children accused him of shoving her to the ground. Brown has denied any wrongdoing. Still, considering the other off-field trouble associated with Brown, it will be difficult for the Steelers to come close to getting market value in a trade.
Art Rooney II had gone from expecting Brown to be out of the picture by training camp to softening that stance. It appears Brown is trying to force the Steelers’ hand. This saga appears far from over.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.