Antonio Brown‘s meeting with Art Rooney may lead to a divorce between the two sides. At the meeting, which was later joined by agent Drew Rosenhaus, GM Kevin Colbert, and executive Omar Kahn, everyone agreed the trade will be for the best,” a source tells Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter).
With that, the Steelers have more or less promised to find Brown a suitable trade. However, Brown has not been given the OK to speak to other teams, Mike Florio of PFT hears.
No trade can become official until March 13, but the Steelers can work out a tentative deal with another team between now and then. For example, the Ravens and Broncos shook hands on the Joe Flacco trade last week, though that trade will not be official for a few more weeks.
If Pittsburgh deals Brown before March 17, it would saddle 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.
Despite friction with key Steelers figures and being overshadowed by JuJu Smith-Schuster at times last year, Brown earned his sixth consecutive Pro Bowl selection as he caught 104 catches, 1,297 yards and a league-leading and career-high 15 touchdowns. The future Hall of Famer has been consistently dominant since the 2013 season and remarkably healthy in that span, too.
Even though he may have some red flags, Brown is unquestionably the hottest player on the trade block at this time. Of course, Odell Beckham Jr. could give him a run for his money in that regard if the Giants truly decide to shop him.
Brown has scared off at least one interested team with his tweets and he still may have to answer for a January domestic dispute. We’ll soon find out how badly those red flags will impact Brown’s market.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.