Antonio Brown saga likely put to bed for Steelers | Steel City Underground

Steel City Underground

Pittsburgh Steelers WR Antonio Brown

As people were tucking themselves into bed with Daylight Savings Time springing them forward, others could climb beneath the blankets knowing that the Antonio Brown saga was likely over as major sporting news outlets announced a deal had been made with the Oakland Raiders.

Granted, the late-breaking news could have been yet another 'oops' moment from Ian Rapoport (NFL) considering his previous "news" that Brown was headed to the Buffalo Bills. Rapoport did have to walk back his public statements, using information that the Bills had been interested but there were concerns over whether Brown would accept the deal or not.

Instead, it appears that - despite the late hour - better confirmation beyond the word of Rapoport alone - of an actual deal between Pittsburgh and Oakland had been made with details of what the two teams would receive in the exchange.

Not one to just take Twitter announcements as "fact", indisputable as words written in stone, I'm still skeptical until I see "AB" signing some paperwork and the Steelers confirming that, indeed, the deal is done. The deal actually can not be "complete" until this coming Wednesday, March 13th per the NFL.

I believed the Raiders were a logical location for Brown's landing after a tumultuous social media campaign by the veteran receiver that appeared to make some teams with 2019 salary cap space and NFL Draft capital leery. That Jon Gruden would be willing to take a chance on Brown after gambling with Martavis Bryant was a "what if", to me, but I felt the Raiders were a team that might be most willing to roll the dice. And not because of any potential move to Las Vegas in 2020.

After days of tracking down rumors and speculation, I can say I'm ready to put myself in bed and sleep like a baby with what, by all appearances, looks to be the end of a nonsensical drama for Pittsburgh and Steelers fans. I won't feel bad if I start dreaming about a receiver the Steelers may grab in the 2019 NFL Draft that could be paired with JuJu Smith-Schuster, the emergence of James Washington in year two, or even a veteran addition that proves to be a key cog to the workings of Pittsburgh's offense.

In essence, I will be satisfied to wake up and see that Brown has truly swapped his jersey to black and silver. And I believe much of Steelers Nation will not miss the media circus that has surrounded Brown as he blasted out (via social and other media) insinuations, vague statements, or sometimes unintelligible statements.

If it all turned out to be more nonsense, I think I'll just skip over the sports section in my news feed in the morning and turn the "wait and see" over to one of my counterparts.

I still think Brown is a talented receiver - top 10 in the league today - but it has been time to move on between the Steelers and Brown for much too long. His unhappiness became a virus that was contagious. Sometimes, as hard as it can be to do so, it's just best to let go.

I'll just wish Brown well in his future endeavors and let Derek Carr take on the responsibility of managing what Brown does moving forward.

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  1. As happy as I am that he’s leaving, part of me wishes they had forced him to honor his contract, and if he chose to retire, sue him for the 60% of his signing bonus.

    If this had been a competition between the Steelers and Brown, Brown clearly won. The Steelers didn’t get the 1st rounder and a significant player like they wanted. Not even close. And Brown not only got to go to an AFC team, he got to go to a team he wanted because of their good QB, and he got $12 million added to his contract!

    Bell made a mockery of the Steelers franchise tag, and now Brown has made a mockery of the Steelers regular contract. He gets to keep his entire Steelers signing bonus, plus he’s getting another one from the Raiders.

    • Considering the “how” it happened, and “when”, I would not be surprised if more info is revealed before the deal is finally, actually, and officially complete on Wednesday. The NFL can not approve it until that date.

      People who aren’t Steelers fans – and even some who are – are still saying this is the organization’s fault. They think Brown and Bell are showing how cool it is to “stick it” to the team, to rebel against what they see as a system that shouldn’t be trusted.

      I think it will be a dangerous precedent that will see the NFL and pro sports implode as players refuse to honor legal contracts, use social media to manipulate facts vs fiction, and even go against player unions. Imagine if every team in the NFL today had two players – like the Steelers have had with Bell and Brown – just decide they didn’t want to honor or respect anything they agreed to legally and even ethically? Could the NFL operate if all 32 teams were in the situation at the same time or even in a league year?

      I have said over and over that AB is a fantastic player. Unfortunately, he’s not “unique” in that area because there are fantastic athletes across the pro spectrum. He may feel he is the best, and I encourage athletes to see their worth. In his case, however, I feel his perspective of not being required to be held accountable for what he has done off the field actually taints pro athletes that honor their word and responsibilities.

      Thanks for your comments, ID

      • I agree with your assessments.

        I believe the way the Steelers do they’re player contracts is fair, and if they make adjustments in the changing culture, I believe those will be fair, as well. Sure, their way led to having Ward and Brown at huge bargains during their second contracts, but they totally took care of each of them in their thirds.

        There will always be teams with a ton of cap space that can lure star players away, and we have to expect and accept that. In the end, other teams overpaying for talent will help the Steelers. It’s not like the Steelers are cheap. They are usually paying all the way up to the cap limit.

        Without having large contracts for Bell and Shazier, they will be able to make a bigger splash in free agency than they otherwise would. And the extra $39MM in cap space they will have the following 2 years by not having Brown on the books will help, as well.

        In the end, the Steelers rid themselves of a couple cancers, and if their performances drop of as many predict, maybe they will be the long term winners in this debacle!

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