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: Will Antonio Brown be a Steeler by the end of the first day of free agency?
I’m still not wholly convinced that we’re not temporarily existing in a parallel Yinzer world in which the majority of fans are clamoring for arguably their best player to be traded, but here we are, waiting for it to happen, and hungry for it to get done.
Of course, that’s largely because that player—Antonio Brown—wants that to happen, and has been taking measures to force his way out. It’s looking very much like he will succeed. He has already gotten the team to actively pursue a trade, and according to the latest reports, it is starting to sound as though a deal is imminent.
As I wrote about yesterday afternoon, the respected journalist Peter King reported that the Combine had been good to the Steelers in terms of fielding interest for their All-Pro wide receiver. He went so far as to speculate that a deal could be agreed to by the end of this week, and that it could be for a first-round draft choice, which is said to be their current asking price.
Even if it ends up being a second-round pick—for some even a third or later—I think many would settle for getting the deal done as soon as possible over the prospect of picking up his $2.5 million roster bonus on March 17 and allowing the process to drag on for an indefinite amount of time. You can’ put a price tag on peace of mind.
Remember, while a trade cannot officially be made until March 13, the start of the new league year, teams can agree to terms on a deal at any point prior to that. We saw a large number of trades agreed to in principle last year—more than half a dozen—but I believe only one has been made so far this offseason. If Brown’s is the second, then he will no longer be a Steeler as early as about 4:01 PM EST on next Tuesday.