In an interesting piece titled, “What do the Steelers need to take the next step?” longtime Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writer Ed Bouchette floated some interesting thoughts on Antonio Brown, one of the best receivers in the NFL. The mere fact that they could trade Antonio Brown, or may opt not to sign him to a long term deal is mildly surprising:
Brown’s antics are wearing thin on some of his teammates and certainly his coaches. He has one year left on his contract and they promised him this would be the year they negotiate an extension for him. What will he want and what will they be willing to pay? Brown has them over one large barrel.
While Brown may ruffle some feelings, he never let it affect his play and he remains one of the hardest workers on the team — and has not missed a game to injury the past four seasons, except for the concussion sustained in the 2015 postseason.
Without Brown, the Steelers really have no receivers they can count on. And drafting even a good one guarantees nothing.
Nope, it would appear they have to swallow hard, sign him and hope he continues to perform as one of the NFL’s best receivers as he turns 29, and that his antics are limited to those they can live with.
I thought the Facebook Live stunt was grossly overblown by the media, but perhaps People That Matter in the franchise were not thrilled. Brown may still be in his prime, but his targets, receptions and yards were all down off the last two years.
Brown turns 29 in July; how much longer can the Steelers expect the speed and durability of a 5-foot-10, 180-pound receiver to hold up?
Turning him loose or trading him may sound risky, but they’ve got serious depth at the position – Martavis Bryant returns from suspension (hopefully), Markus Wheaton returns from injury, and the young trio of Eli Rogers, Sammie Coates and Cobi Hamilton has plenty of potential. There’s also the use of dual tight end sets with Ladarius Green and emerging Jesse James.
Look at the Patriots. They have had a rotating door at receiver for 15 years. If you save money on Antonio Brown, you can roll it into the defense (specifically that porous secondary).