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 the Steelers agree to a trade to send Antonio Brown packing today?
While the official start of free agency, when trades can be consummated, is still several days away, it was reported on Wednesday that the Steelers were looking at Friday as a soft deadline they’ve since further softened to get something done to send Antonio Brown on his way to a new team, by his own request.
Pittsburgh has been making the hard sell that they are not committed to trading Brown, but we will probably find out pretty soon just how well they can stick to those guns if they fail to receive an offer of a first-round pick.
According to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN last night, the Steelers are not taking the ‘first-rounder or bust’ stand and could be open to receiving lesser compensation for Brown. Which they might have to, if the reports of teams either never having interest or losing interest are to be taken at face value.
Until late last night, it was looking as though it’s a one-horse race, that horse being the Oakland Raiders, and whether or not that horse bothers even finishing just depends on how much he wants the carrot to deal with the stick the Steelers are looking to smack it with. Then Ian Rapoport indicated that the Buffalo Bills are talking, and ESPN threw in the Green Bay Packers.
Pittsburgh got a third-round pick out of the Raiders for Martavis Bryant last year, a price nobody thought the Steelers would be able to get for him, which was already a big day for General Manager Kevin Colbert. Can he get Jon Gruden to bite twice? Can they get Brown to play nice in Buffalo? Would a Green Bay front office really trade for him?
The likeliest bet is still the Raiders, I think, but perhaps not if Gruden listens to his new general manager, Mike Mayock, who apparently doesn’t want to let any of his three first-round picks go. Gruden said a couple of weeks ago that he would be willing to deal one, but he also wants to listen to Mayock, whom he hand-picked for the job because he respects his football mind. One of the few who are up and in the building before him.