Former Pittsburgh Steelers safety Ryan Clark had quite a few unfavorable things to say Monday night about wide receiver Antonio Brown following the reports that had surfaced earlier in the day about him skipping the team’s Thursday and Friday practices last week after having dome sort of incident on the practice field on Wednesday.
After Clark first relayed a story to Scott Van Pelt on an appearance on SportsCenter about how Steelers teammates were concerned about money going to Brown’s head when news initially surfaced that the wide receiver would be receiving a lucrative contract in July of 2012, he let loose with more criticism of his former teammate.
“When it comes to just being a good teammate, when it comes to just being supportive, understanding that you’re trying to achieve one goal, that doesn’t matter to him,” Clark said of Brown. “What matters to him is 19 attempts, 14 catches, 185 yards, two touchdowns against the Saints. That’s what’s important to Antonio Brown.”
Clark went on to say that he doesn’t think that the Steelers organization can change Brown at this point and that the best course of action might be for them to trade him to another team during the offseason.
“This is about the fabric of the team,” Clark told Van Pelt. “This is about the guy that goes Facebook Live as your coach is talking and leaks information out of the locker room that never should be there, this is about the guy that publicly talks about not getting the ball or issues with the offensive coordinator, knocks over garbage cans or knocks over Gatorade bottles and cans because he doesn’t get the rock. At some point, when you’re an organization that’s built on team, organization that’s built on integrity, you have to show the rest of the locker room that. Will he be good going forward? Probably so. But you have to take that stand.”
Clark was then asked by Van Pelt to confirm that he thinks the Steelers should now explore trading Brown.
“You have to,” Clark said. “It’s time to go.”
While many fans of the team might indeed agree with Clark and his assessment that the Steelers should trade Brown, let it be known that such a transaction would result in a lot of dead money in 2019 and especially if he was dealt prior to June 1.
In case you’re curious, the trading or cutting of Brown prior to June 1 would result in a $21.12 million dead money charge for the Steelers in 2019. Brown, however, is set to count $22.165 million against the teams salary cap in 2019 so essentially the Steelers would save $1.045 million in cap space by trading or cutting Brown before June 1. Jettisoning Brown after June 1, however, would save the Steelers $12.625 million in 2019 salary cap space and that assumes the wide receiver was paid his $2.5 million roster bonus due him in March. Additionally, the Steelers would then have a dead money charge of $14.080 million in 2020 as part of parting ways with Brown after June 1.
In short, if the Steelers were to trade Brown this coming offseason, it would make more sense for them to do so prior to paying him the $2.5 million roster bonus he his due in March. After all, why would the Steelers organization want to throw even more money at Brown before sending out of town.
Will the Steelers explore trading Brown in the coming weeks? While I would think the odds of that ultimately happening are low, I suppose it’s possible.