We are probably going to see weekly, if not daily articles from one major sports news platform or another regarding the Pittsburgh Steelers and Antonio Brown until there is a resolution of some kind. Undoubtedly, some of those reports will contradict each other as to whether or not the team is leaning toward trading him—or even if Brown can do much of anything about it.
We’ve already covered a few of these, but frankly, I’m not expecting there to be a new, meaningful, substantial one for a while, because there simply hasn’t been any new developments. The Steelers don’t know whether or not they’re going to trade him right now. Brown, as far as we know, has not formally requested a trade.
But I did find something interesting in Chris Mortensen’s own update on the topic. The ESPN staple maintains that “the expectation now is that he is more likely to be traded before the new league year in March when he’s due the $2.5 million roster bonus”.
He pointed out that while the substantial dead money they would have to carry in trading him would be an obstacle, the reimbursement for the absence of Le’Veon Bell in 2018—which they have already been credited once it rolls over at the start of the new league year—and a pending restructure of Ben Roethlisberger would give them more wiggle room on the cap to make it a more manageable hit.
Before that, however, he did provide an update that I myself was interested in. since Friday, Brown had been ignoring seemingly everybody as far as we were aware, with the exception of Sunday up until halftime when he left the stadium. Head Coach Mike Tomlin said that he spoke to Brown before the game and hasn’t heard from him since.
“What we know now is there still has not been much communication between Antonio Brown and the Steelers, where he had ignored phone calls from the owner, Art Rooney, from the coach, Mike Tomlin”, Mortensen said. “He’s had a little communication with some support staff members”.
I’m unclear as to whom he might be referring to when he cites ‘support staff members’, if that would consist of secretaries or something like that, but at the very least, Mortensen is reporting that there has been some level of communication between Brown and the organization.
Brown most recently failed to report on Monday as he was supposed to. To the best of my knowledge, no player on the current roster has come out and said that he has spoken to the wide receiver since Sunday.
When will Tomlin or Art Rooney II get the opportunity to speak to Brown, even sit down face to face with him and discuss his future? It’s still very early in the offseason—football is still being played—but there is understandably a lot of anxiety over how it will all unfold.