Are the Steelers Reworking Big Ben’s Deal to Trade Antonio Brown?
It appears that the Pittsburgh Steelers are preparing for the possibility of trading Antonio Brown, at least financially. According to a report by ESPN, Pittsburgh is expected to rework Ben Roethlisberger’s hefty contract in order to create some cap space and to extend “Big Ben’s” deal.
The team is aiming to get this deal done before the new league year begins on March 13th.
A Look at Brown’s Drama
Over the last week, Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown has been in the news for the wrong reasons. The talented wide out was benched in Week 17 due to his behavior which included a blowup at a teammate, skipping practices and missing meetings.
Apparently, this behavior isn’t anything new as Brown reportedly had several incidents throughout the season, which the team brushed under the rug.
Unfortunately for Steelers nation, Brown’s latest actions have greatly strained his relationship with the front office and some teammates. This drama has boiled to the point where Brown is now requesting to be traded from the team.
Reports have surfaced over the last few days that Brown allegedly blew up over wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster being named the team’s MVP and that he was snubbed for the pro bowl. As of now, Brown has not shared his side of why he blew up at a teammate.
Will the Steelers Trade Brown?
For the Steelers, if they trade Brown it will leave them with roughly $21.5 million in dead cap space. That’s a major reason why many pundits and fans believe that the team will not trade Brown. It’s also why NFL betting sites listed this as an enticing NFL futures bet.
But, with a restructured team-friendly contract for Big Ben, the team will have more money to absorb this dead cap space and possibly acquire some key assets in a trade for Brown.
All indications are that Brown has completely distanced himself from the team as he hasn’t responded to head coach Mike Tomlin’s attempts to talk to him. Furthermore, he’s been quite juvenile on social media toward the Steelers.
Within the last day, reports have come out that the Steelers will listen to trade offers, but aren’t actively shopping Brown. In other words, if some team makes them an offer they can’t refuse then Brown is playing on a new team next year.
Is There a Timeframe for a Trade?
Antonio is due a $2.5 million roster bonus by mid-March, which puts a time frame on any potential trades. It’s 3 days after the league’s season begins and right around the time of free agency. So, Pittsburgh will be able to keep one eye on free agent receivers, while trying to acquire some valuable draft picks in a trade for Brown.
More Issues Than Just Brown
It should be noted that Brown’s drama is just one more example of a tumultuous Steelers season. It started off with the team and star running back Le’Veon Bell being unable to come to a contract agreement. Bell decided to hold out all season and will be on a new team next year.
Within the last few days, more drama has come out of the Steel City. This time, it’s regarding the decision to not bring assistant coach Joey Porter back.
At first, the decision appeared to be based on the team missing the playoffs. However, there are rumors and reports that Porter caused a division in the locker room between the offense and the defense.
It’s rather alarming that a proud and stoic franchise is having this many issues with their franchise, and we haven’t even begun to discuss all of the negativity and rumors surrounding head coach Mike Tomlin.
This Antonio Brown issue is only going to heat up even more as we approach March. The odds of him being traded are starting to look better than when this story first broke.
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