Jay Glazer of The Athletic has been told by executives and coaches at the Combine this week that the Antonio Brown‘s situation “weighs much more heavily against him” than any of the prior drama surround Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr.
According to Glazer, teams around the league are hoping they can get Brown from the Steelers for much cheaper than what the Steelers are willing to trade him for. Glazer says that NFL teams think Brown has pushed himself out of town in a way where they can now just steal him.
However, the Steelers have no plans to give up for little value in return, even though they’re in a tough position with their star receiver.
Glazer mentions that there are “mixed signals” right now about whether Brown wants a new contract. Sources have told Glazer that it’s not as much about a new contract and he would like to have some of his base salary moved up in the form of guaranteed money.
The Steelers have said they’ve received calls from teams about Brown in recent days, but Glazer mentions that only a few teams have inquired. Glazer lists the Eagles, Buccaneers and Rams as teams who are typically big players during the offseason and while the 49ers could use a receiver, he thinks they’re more inclined to go after Beckham.
Pittsburgh is trying to minimize the drama that Brown has caused this offseason while ensuring they aren’t giving him away in a trade, according to Glazer.
Brown met with owner Art Rooney II and both parties agreed that it was time to move on.
Brown has been the subject of trade rumors since he was benched for Week 17’s game after an incident that occurred during practice.
Pittsburgh would incur a $21 million cap hit by trading Brown, which is typically too prohibitive for a team to take on. However, reports have said Pittsburgh believes they can easily offset the cap hit.
Brown is owed a $2.5 million roster bonus on the third day of the league year, which could work as a deadline of sorts for the Steelers to trade him.
Brown, 30, is a former sixth-round pick of the Steelers back in 2010. He’s currently in the third year of his five-year, $72.71 million contract that included a $19 million signing bonus and stands to make base salaries of $12.625 million and $11.3 million over the next two years of the agreement.
Trading Brown would be really tough for the Steelers, considering that they would take a $21.12 million cap hit by moving him before June 1. After that, the dead money hit drops to $7.04 million with the remainder being carried on their 2020 salary cap.
In 2018, Brown appeared in 15 games for the Steelers and caught 104 passes for 1,297 yards and 15 touchdowns.
We’ll have more regarding Brown and the Steelers as the news is available.