2018 South Side Questions: How Should WR Position Be Addressed If AB Is Dealt?

Antonio Brown JuJu Smith-Schuster Steelers

The Pittsburgh Steelers are out of Latrobe and back at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, also referred to as the South Side Facility. We are already into the regular season, where everything is magnified and, you know, actually counts. The team is working through the highs and lows and dramas that go through a typical Steelers season.

How are the rookies performing? What about the players that the team signed in free agency? Who is missing time with injuries, and when are they going to be back? What are the coaches saying about what they are going to do this season that might be different from how it was a year ago?

These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked, though there is rarely a concrete answer, as I’ve learned in my years of doing this.

Question: How should the Steelers approach the wide receiver position in the event that they do trade Antonio Brown?

While I’m currently still in the camp that believes the Steelers and Antonio Brown will move past the current drama, it’s undeniable that it’s the biggest topic surrounding the team right now, and probably will be for a while at this rate. And the fact of that matter is that we really don’t know how it’s all going to unfold.

As odd as this may have sounded a year ago, it really is a legitimate possibility that the team will pursue a trade option for Brown if they make the determination that he can’t fit in their locker room in a way that can be acceptable going forward—which means that things have to change, and Brown has to be willing to change and be a part of the solution.

If he ends up getting moved—this if it does happen, I’m confident it will happen on the first day of free agency or very shortly after—how should the Steelers address the wide receiver position in the aftermath of the move? After all, it would leave a chasmic void should they follow through with this approach.

They of course have JuJu Smith-Schuster—who, let’s remember, played well in the two and a half games Brown missed due to injury at the end of the 2017 season, so I’m not going to make this judgement based on the Cincinnati Bengals game under unusual circumstances.

What else do they have? There’s James Washington, but we don’t know who he’s going to be yet. He caught a couple of deep passes over the final three weeks of the season, and that’s a positive sign, but it’s not a career. Eli Rogers and Ryan Switzer are bit pieces.

When the Steelers moved on from Santonio Holmes, they used a third-round pick on Emmanuel Sanders and a sixth-round pick on Brown. The free agent market isn’t huge this year, but names like Golden Tate and Randall Cobb will attract attention.

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