Are Steelers moving toward a divorce from Antonio Brown?

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The Steelers have dealt with plenty of distractions this year, several of which trace to star receiver Antonio Brown. And the latest of which could be the last straw.

The stunning report from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that Brown basically skipped out on practice, prompting the team to fabricate an injury report as cover for his absence, and then showing up Sunday with the goal of playing before being shut down suggests that the two sides have passed the point of no return. If that’s the case, what can the Steelers do?

Based on his contract, not much — without taking a massive cap hit. Thanks to a $19 million signing bonus paid in 2017 and a $12.96 million restructure bonus paid in 2018, the Steelers would carry $21.12 million in dead money if they cut or trade Brown. (They could release him in March with a post-June 1 designation, resulting in $7.04 million counting against 2019 and $14.08 million counting against 2020.)

Whenever a decision is made, something needs to happen by the fifth day of the league year, which begins in March. That’s when Brown earns another $2.5 million roster bonus. Presumably, the Steelers would want to cut or trade him before then.

If they even want to cut or trade him. But with JuJu Smith-Schuster, the team’s 2018 MVP, emerging as a great player and the Steelers surely weary of a never-ending circus with Brown that traces at least back to his ill-advised locker-room Facebook Live routine after a playoff win over the Chiefs, it could be time for the two sides to separate.

Unfortunately for the Steelers, it may be impractical from a cap standpoint.

28 responses to “Are Steelers moving toward a divorce from Antonio Brown?

  1. Sigh. Used to be the Steelers as a team knew to keep all business in house and took their job serious. Now its a never ending parade of me first millennial types who are more concerned about their social media score instead of football. Brown is an elite player, but with all the discipline issues this team has, it may be time to start getting rid of these types and start going with guys who actually love the game. Like what we used to have at every position across the board. Ah well.

  2. RogerThat! says:
    December 31, 2018 at 5:15 pm
    Pay no attention to the bogus injury report put out by Tomlin and the Stealers.

    Yeah, I am kind of wondering about that. Other teams got bagged for fudging on the injury reports what makes the Steelers exempt from those aame rules?

  3. Faking an injury report? Sounds like a $1 million fine and loss of a 1st rounder. But wait, Roger is on the Rooneys payroll so nothing is going to happen.

  4. It’s time for the Steelers to start planning a different course…one without either Roethlisberger or Brown. Move those guys and get a young QB to build around with Smith-Schuster.

  5. Steelers fans can say what they want about Belichick, however Bill would have suspended Brown the moment he didn’t show up for practice.
    Big, big difference between Belichick and Tomlin.

  6. Lying to the NFL about fake injuries is serious and should get the team banned from the NFL next season. This scandal isn’t going away. Expect an investigation, suspended personnel, lost draft picks, and even worse.

  7. It’s Tomlin and Brown… Mike Tomlin is dumb and AB = BABY.

    Ben threw for over 5000 yards and 36 TDs.

  8. the steelers do have plenty of cap room to work with but it would be better used on player acquisition. they can trade him to a team with plenty of room (ie Oakland) who has an extra mid-1st round and needs to replace Amari Cooper.

  9. Tonkin is a joke. The organization props him up with superior drafting and consistency. What does he bring, cheerleading? Talent and front office carry this team – Tomlin is of little substance

  10. While I am sick of AB’s childish behavior, I am even more upset that Mike Tomlin habitually lies to cover for this prima donna. And the very thought of Art Rooney II calling AB is outrageous. Let him go he is making the team a laughingstock.

  11. From the standpoint of performance, Brown is worth the money he’s being paid. From the standpoint of conduct and team spirit, he’s well overpaid. It doesn’t sound like the Steelers have any other option but to keep him and heap huge fines on him when he fails to follow the team’s rules. It’s a shame his ego has gotten in the way of team play. Smith Shuster on the other hand is a model player. Great receiver and great person. He has no ego problems. Same can be said for James Conner vs LeVeon Bell. We need more players like Smith Shuster and Conner playing for the Steelers. That’s how you win Super Bowls. No drama. Just play the game and be happy with the best pay on earth.

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