We heard yesterday that an Antonio Brown trade was “close” and that three teams were “still alive”, but over 24 hours later we still don’t have a deal. While we await an end to the saga, it’s worth examining why the Steelers are so willing to meet Brown’s demands and trade him, writes Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com. Florio questions why the Steelers are seemingly “letting Brown dictate the terms of his employment,” and came up with a hypothesis based on his relationship with Ben Roethlisberger.
Brown has publicly gone after Roethlisberger in recent weeks, which could’ve solidified the Steelers’ resolve to ship him out. Florio theorizes that the feud between Brown and Roethlisberger isn’t just one-sided, and that Roethlisberger may be pushing for Brown to be gone behind the scenes. Florio thinks Roethlisberger may have given Pittsburgh’s management an ultimatum, and that could be why the team hasn’t tried to reconcile with Brown at all. It makes some sense, and if nothing else it’s an interesting theory.
Here’s more from around the league:
- There’s been a lot of talk about a potential work stoppage when it comes time to negotiate the next CBA between the owners and the players’ union. There will be intense battles over things like contract guarantees, but one area the league plans to cede ground is on the substance abuse policy. The NFL is poised “to make major concessions regarding the substance-abuse policy, especially as it relates to marijuana,” according to Florio. Florio cautions that the details haven’t been ironed out yet, but the new CBA could completely get rid of any mention of Marijuana, making it permissible for everyone in the league.
- There was a lot of talk about whether or not Kyler Murray made a bad impression in his combine interviews, but one player certainly did. Florida edge rusher Jachai Polite interviewed terrible, and his draft stock “is taking a massive tumble” as a result, according to Matt Miller of Bleacher Report (Twitter link). Polite had been projected by many as a first round pick, but that now appears to be in serious jeopardy. Polite also performed poorly in the athletic testing portion of the combine, and later claimed an injury was responsible.
- The new startup football league, the AAF, has had a tumultuous start. There was a good amount of drama surrounding their finances after the first week, but things appear to have stabilized since then with a huge $250MM investment coming from NHL owner Tom Dundon. Now Bill Polian, the Hall of Fame former Colts GM and one of the founders of the AAF, is hopeful about a potential partnership with the NFL. Polian said in a recent conference call with reporters that talk about a formal partnership with the league “is ramping up” behind the scenes, according to Tom Krasovic of The San Diego Union Tribune. “Our hope would be that that would happen as quickly as it possibly can,” Polian added.