By Staff Writer Thomas Griffin.
In the wake of Super Bowl 53, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ star and wide receiver Antonio Brown demanded a trade from the organization, and this time, he absolutely meant it.
Following an un-productive season full of controversy and locker room drama, Brown tweeted that he thought it was “time to move on and forward” after nine seasons as a Steeler.
Brown then brought his concerns to team owner Art Rooney II, who refused to release the player but agreed to begin considering trade offers.
Joined by General Manager Kevin Colbert, executive Omar Kahn, and Brown’s agent Drew Rosenhaus, everyone at the meeting agreed that trading Antonio Brown “will be for the best,” on the condition that Brown and Rosenhaus are not allowed to speak or conduct deals with any other teams on their own terms.
Brown’s desire to leave the team started as a mishandled joke on Twitter.
In September, former Steelers public relations agent Ryan Scarpino proposed in a tweet that Antonio Brown’s offensive production was due in its entirety to the talent and ability of the team’s quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger.
Feeling offended, Brown responded with “trade me, let’s find out,” – five words that would alter the Steelers’ outlook on the season altogether.
The 2018 season was a rough one for both Brown and the Steelers.
For the first time in five years, Pittsburgh missed playoff contention.
Star running back Le’Veon Bell held out on his contract long enough to miss the entire season and end his tenure with the team.
Tempers flared between the remaining offensive pieces, with the season culminating in Brown being benched for week 17’s game against the division rival Cincinnati Bengals after an in-practice argument with Roethlisberger.
Despite winning the final game of the season, the Baltimore Ravens still led the AFC North by half a game, knocking the Steelers out of playoffs at the last minute.
Before his departure, Antonio Brown still has some money to collect from his former team.
If he is not traded by the seventeenth of March, the Steelers owe him a $2.5 million roster bonus for having not been dealt with or traded yet.
Trading Brown before that deadline would eliminate $21.12 million from the Steelers’ salary cap, while trading him after the deadline would cost $23.62 million of the salary cap.
In his current state, Antonio Brown isn’t the most cost-effective wide receiver prospect in the league’s open market.
While he is a versatile playmaker, the 30-year-old veteran is due upwards of $11 million per year from 2019 to 2021.
Known for performing well in the clutch, his talent goes to the highest bidder, and the team that trades for him must be able to put forth the “guaranteed money” that Brown demands.