I’m not sure whether or not, or at least how much, it’s by design, but it seems that whenever there is a lull in The Antonio Brown Situation™ within the 24-hour news cycle, said Brown has had a tendency to do something to flare things up again and make himself to center of attention in NFL circles.
His most recent gesture has been his most significant, in which he essentially told Pittsburgh Steelers fans that his time in the city was at an end. Such a message was likely designed to try to force the team’s hand in trading him. He also hinted in his message at wanting a new contract, or at least it could be interpreted that way.
That’s how Hall of Fame wide receiver Cris Carter also took it. “Why would he go anywhere else without having new contract demands?”, he asked on First Things First. “Sometimes I just like to use common sense. He’s very comfortable in Pittsburgh. All of his guaranteed money is gone. Drew Rosenhaus represents him. I still think, because AB’s been firing people…but it doesn’t make sense”.
Brown signed a four-year contract extension with the Steelers in 2017, which at the time made him the highest-paid wide receiver in NFL history in the new money portion of the deal. If he is ready to tear that up two years on—admittedly after a 15-touchdown season—that is something the Steelers will absolutely never oblige.
“You have to sign him to a contract extension”, Carter said of any team trying to trade for him, and he had one very simple explanation for that. He cited the numerous reports of how Brown’s behavior has affected the Steelers’ locker room over the years.
“If you don’t give him a new contract, that’s the guy you’re getting”, he said. “So you’ve got to give him a new contract, and if you don’t think there’s gonna be some new money included in that, then you’re looking at something totally different than the way I look at it”.
The more I assess the situation, the more I feel I tend to agree, because I still find it rather hard to reconcile the seeming irreconcilable nature of the erosion of the relationship between Brown and the team, and with some of his teammates. If it’s not about money, then he just seems…well, crazy. And maybe he is.
Carter isn’t interested in doing Brown any favors, though. Trade him because it’s best for the team. And trade him to where it’s advantageous to you. “I’m not making it easier for AB, either. I’m not sending him to wherever is best for the organization, and I believe it’s out of the AFC”, he said.
The Steeler scan trade Brown to any team that they want to with Brown having no say in it whatsoever. The only requirement is that that team agrees to terms on a trade. Brown ought to be careful what he wishes for, but either way, it looks like he’s going to get it, for better or worse.