The offseason is inevitably a period of projection and speculation, which makes it the ideal time to ponder the hypotheticals that the Pittsburgh Steelers will face over the course of the next year, whether it is addressing free agency, the draft, performance on the field, or some more ephemeral topic.
That is what I will look to address in our Buy or Sell series. In each installment, I will introduce a topic statement and weigh some of the arguments for either buying it (meaning that you agree with it or expect it to be true) or selling it (meaning you disagree with it or expect it to be false).
The range of topics will be intentionally wide, from the general to the specific, from the immediate to that in the far future. And as we all tend to have an opinion on just about everything, I invite you to share your own each morning on the topic statement of the day.
Topic Statement: The Oakland Raiders would still make the same trade for Antonio Brown now that they did in March.
Explanation: Antonio Brown is a superior, premiere talent in the NFL. He is also an exceptionalism when it comes to being a pain in the ass, which new Raiders General Manager Mike Mayock is realizing. In like of the freezer-burnt feet and the helmet hijinks, people have been revisiting the trade, which saw the Steelers receiver early third- and fifth-round picks, and whether it was a good trade—and for whom.
Of course they would still make the trade. Everything that is going on right now is window dressing and will be forgotten about two months from now when Brown is catching touchdowns from Derek Carr—the first touchdowns of his career that didn’t come from his kids’ favorite player, Ben Roethlisberger.
Brown is a franchise-altering talent who will transform the Raiders’ offense and make them a playoff contender as long as the defense can also hold up its end of the bargain. There’s no reason to think he would actually retire before wearing a new helmet. Just listen to Drew Rosenhaus. He’s got money on the line, too.
Remember, the Steelers had this tremendous talent. And they let him stew for years. They tried their best not to trade him until he gave them no choice. And there’s a reason it took so much effort to actually find a trading partner willing to meet all terms.
It’s because his extracurricular demands and need for special attention are crazy. Whether it’s an unprecedented revisitation of his contract or seeking special treatment when it comes to a matter of player safety, Brown is consistently putting self before team.
Mayock talked about drafting team-first players. But his biggest acquisition of the offseason was a me-first player, and that’s going to blow up at some point. It’s already starting and you’re seeing the anxiety. And what else they could have done with that money and those draft picks rather than giving it to a self-destructive narcissist who is good at catching ovals.