Antonio Brown wants out of Pittsburgh. But the Steelers won’t sell him for pennies on the dollar. That’s the stance Kevin Colbert took in meeting with the media Wednesday afternoon, according to multiple media reports.
Colbert also echoed what Art Rooney II said earlier this offseason, confirming the Steelers will not release Brown.
Brown met with Omar Khan, Rooney, and Colbert yesterday. According to Brown, they cleared the air but agreed it was time to move on. Agent Drew Rosenhaus confirmed the team hasn’t given Brown’s camp permission to seek a trade, meaning the organization holds all the cards.
It’s difficult to say exactly what kind of market will greet Brown and the Steelers. The talent is immense and obvious. So are the off-field concerns. Many expect Pittsburgh to be able to receive a Day Two pick in return but if we’re taking Colbert’s word – and let’s be clear, there’s some obvious GM posturing going on here – there is the option to keep AB if the market is truly terrible.
Brown, of course, wouldn’t be happy about it. He could ask for a new contract, he’s already done so publicly. There’s no good reason for the Steelers to do that so what happens then? Does Brown hold out? Sit out? Does the situation somehow become even more toxic? All unanswered questions and bridges you hope not to cross.
Although Colbert is keeping the door open for a possible return, the reality is that it is still highly likely Brown gets dealt. And dealt soon. The upcoming NFL Combine is a perfect table to begin trade negotiations and with AB’s $2.5 million roster bonus due early next month, there’s a clear deadline that would be ideal to make a move. Pittsburgh doesn’t have to trade him before then but doing so and avoiding eating that extra money makes the most sense.