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Should the Pittsburgh Steelers Trade Antonio Brown?
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown has been the center of a lot of controversy. Earlier this season he made headlines for taking a series of excessive celebration penalties. More recently he came under fire from coaches and fellow players for streaming Mike Tomlin‘s fiery post-game speech on Facebook Live, which was a major violation of team and league social media policies.
Now Pittsburgh sports columnist Ron Cook is openly calling for the Steelers to trade Antonio Brown while they still can.
In a column appearing in Sunday’s Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Cook lays out three reasons the Steelers should explore trading Brown: his age, his penchant for causing off-field distractions, and the fact that even excellent receivers aren’t necessarily worth $45 million contracts.
“The distractions are a real problem,” Cook argues. “Brown is not a bad guy or malicious person. He’s just not all that smart. It’s hard to imagine him changing now. It’s hard to imagine Tomlin being strong enough to force him to change.”
Salary cap issues are the bigger concern, though. “The Steelers are going to have to pay big money to keep Le’Veon Bell, presumably by putting their franchise tag on him for next season,” Cook writes. “I just can’t justify giving a receiver quarterback-like money or even running back-like money. I don’t care how good he is.”
Up until this point Cook makes a pretty compelling argument. Maybe the Steelers should maximize their returns by trading Antonio Brown, who he says “might be the best receiver in football.”
Unfortunately, Cook proceeds to shoot that argument in the foot by citing Ike Taylor‘s claim that Antonio Brown wouldn’t be that good without Ben Roethlisberger. If that is the case, as Cook seems to suggest, it seems like something you wouldn’t want to say out loud—not if the goal is to get as huge a return on A.B. as possible.
Still, overall it’s a pretty interesting argument, and one that more NFL clubs might want to consider if they ever want to get an edge on the competition in the salary cap era.
What do you think? Should the Steelers look into trading Antonio Brown?