Earlier this week, Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette said that the Steelers should take whatever they can get for Antonio Brown, even if it’s only a conditional seventh-round pick in 2020. But what if the Steelers, unsatisfied with trade offers they receive for the star receiver, opt to go the other way?
The Steelers have a long history of dictating terms to players. Few teams ever allow players to dictate terms to them.
In 2017, Le’Veon Bell dictated terms to the Steelers, refusing to sign a long-term deal. He took it to the next level in 2018, both refusing to sign a long-term deal and refusing to show up at all for the football season. Now, Brown wants out so badly that he’s saying goodbye to Pittsburgh even before the Steelers have agreed to let him go.
To complicate matters, Brown has disrespected owner Art Rooney II, refusing to accept his calls during the Week 17 AWOL incident and now reportedly refusing to meet with Rooney in Florida. The risk for Brown is that the Steelers could eventually say “enough,” telling Brown that he’ll play for them or play for no one, that if he plays for no one he’ll owe them $11.4 million in unearned signing bonus, and that if he plays for the Steelers he’ll be expected to follow the rules or face the consequences.
Which means that T.O.’s Philly Not-So-Special from 2005 could be unfolding in Pittsburgh, if the Steelers refuse to let Brown leave, and if Brown becomes even more determined to get out.