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If the Steelers really do trade Antonio Brown, they better make it count

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If the Steelers really do trade Antonio Brown, they better get great value in return.

Pittsburgh Steelers v New Orleans Saints Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images

In case you didn’t know, the Steelers and Antonio Brown are on the outs.

This has happened before between the two parties—the fights, the disagreements, the hurt feelings—but the issues were always resolved. However, unlike real-life couples who vow to never go to bed angry at one another, the Steelers and their star wide receiver have spent many nights—weeks, actually—not only angry at each other, but engaging in the old silent treatment--at least the star receiver has.

Brown is incommunicado with his employer at the moment, but, gosh darn it, he’s vowed to come out with his side of the story One. Of. These. Days.

For their part, the Steelers don’t seem to be too emotionally distraught over Brown’s latest reason for giving them the old silent treatment, and it has been reported that parting ways with him via trade is something the organization is seriously considering.

I get it, I really do. I’m getting fed up with Brown’s antics, too. Of course, I never thought these antics would tempt the Steelers to get rid of him, a legacy player, someone who is already one of the greatest in team history. But, then again, I don’t have to live with Brown. I don’t have to work with Brown. And, perhaps, most importantly, I don’t have to reason with Brown on a seemingly endless basis.

The Steelers owners, general manager, coaches and players must do all of these things, which is why they may be as willing to part ways with Brown as your average Facebook poster who says “Get rid of/fire him!” without really worrying about the consequences.

And the consequences of parting ways with Brown may be huge. Sure, you’re losing a constant distraction, but you’re also losing the greatest receiver in the game. Sure, you might bet your jollies off watching a frustrated Brown fall to pieces on a totally horrible Jets team. But would you get your jollies off watching the likes of Eli Rogers and the totally unproven James Washington try to replace him?

This is just a guess but probably not—not unless you have a different idea of what getting your jollies off means.

They say you can’t win with a player like Brown, but I don’t buy that for a second. As far as I’m concerned, there are few players in team history more clutch in big moments than No. 84, and the number of times he’s come through with either a big catch or a big touchdown are just too numerous to document in this little article.

But, again, I don’t have to live with Brown. I don’t have to deal with a potential volcano erupting in 2019 and doing more damage to the Steelers Super Bowl chances than inserting Eli Rogers into the lineup ever could.

So if you have to trade Brown, trade him, but, damn it, you better make it right.

Apparently, the 49ers—particularly Jerry Rice—would love to have Antonio Brown come to their organization and catch passes from handsome Jimmy Garoppolo. Fine, but if I’m the Steelers, I want San Francisco’s premium first-round draft pick. None of this second-round pick business. As my brother tells me in every text involving a potential trade in whatever sport, “You gotta give to get.”

Damn right, you do.

As much as you might want to see Brown go, the chances of the Steelers being better off without him are pretty slim if they don’t get fair value in return.

To sort of give what I said earlier a different twist, YOU don’t have to live with Antonio Brown. You don’t have to work with Antonio Brown. You don’t have to reason with Antonio Brown.

And since you insist on putting your entire heart and soul into cheering for the Pittsburgh Steelers, you probably aren’t too eager to see a depleted edition in 2019. Therefore, shipping Brown off for anything below a first-round pick (and even that might be too low if the first-round pick belongs to a playoff team) is simply out of the question.

Fortunately, unlike the fans, the Steelers aren’t in the business of making rash decisions. They are, however, in the business of winning.

And if they don’t trade Brown away this offseason, they’ll still have the services of one of the NFL’s best play-makers next regular season.

How will that work after everything that’s gone down? It’s way too early to know at this point. It’s amazing how a heart-to-heart conversation can really clear the air and make things right.

Speaking of making things right, if the Steelers really are thinking of shipping Brown off to the highest bidder, well, they damn well better make sure it’s the highest bidder.

I’m certainly not in the business of watching inferior Steelers football in 2019.