The Better It Sounds, The Worse It Feels

By Matthew Marczi

The better it sounds, the less optimistic I am that this deal will make much of a difference.

When it was reported that the Pittsburgh Steelers traded with the Arizona Cardinals for the services of left tackle Levi Brown, I was not entirely sure what to think. Was this a move to acquire a new left tackle? Was Mike Adams doing such a poor job that the team felt he could not improve over time? Would they not even give Kelvin Beachum a chance at left tackle before moving on?

It initially appeared to be a rather serious move. There was talk of a second-day draft pick being given up, and then there was the millions left on Brown’s contract for the remainder of the 2013 season.

Over the course of the evening on Wednesday, however, we learned, of course, that the Cardinals would be paying for all but the veteran-minimum amount of Brown’s contract, and with the release of Isaiah Green, the displacement cost would likely be a fairly negligible amount.

Later, it was rumored that the Steelers would be giving up a “conditional late-round draft pick”, meaning that the deal is really quite a low risk move for Pittsburgh. But at the same time it begged the question: how high is the reward?

Now yesterday, reports surfaced that the Steelers actually will be receiving a draft pick from the Cardinals as part of the deal that brought Brown over to Pittsburgh. Could it even get any better?

Perhaps the deal itself could not have gone much better for the Steelers, or so it sounds, but now we are left with the question of whether or not Levi Brown can actually help the Steelers out.

It is pretty clear that the Cardinals had a significant desire to move the left tackle, as reflected in the comments made by the team after the trade was made. Then we learned that they had been floating the idea of a trade all season.

So what type of player have the Steelers acquired in Levi Brown, and what type of role will he ultimately fulfill this season? Given the size of the rest of his contract, it does not seem too likely at the moment that he will be sticking around beyond that.

The reality is that Brown could be anywhere from the starting left tackle for 12 games to possibly spending a few games in street clothes on the inactive list. The better the deal sounds for the Steelers, the lower my expectations fall for what kind of impact it will have. Of course, all we can do is wait and see how it all unfolds, but right now, Brown’s best chance of playing might be through the failures of others.

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