clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Steelers News: What will the Steelers’ offense resemble without Antonio Brown?

Time to check on the latest news surrounding the Pittsburgh Steelers.

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Jacksonville Jaguars Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ season is over, but if you think the news surrounding the black-and-gold is over — think again. For the drama-filled Steelers, things are just heating up, and this is where the daily links article comes in. You might have missed some key news, and we fill you in and give you the latest, and sometimes greatest, news surrounding the Steelers.

Today in the Black-and-gold links article we take a look at what the Steelers’ 2019 offense, and beyond, might resemble without Antonio Brown in the lineup. Can it be as lethal? Or will it just be a watered down version of the 2018 offense?

Let’s get to the news:

Reimagining Steelers’ offense without Antonio Brown

By: Jeremy Fowler, ESPN

What was once the NFL’s most formidable threesome has one Killer B left.

Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown are top-10 playmakers in their primes who will -- barring a major upset -- no longer be Steelers in 2019.

That leaves Ben Roethlisbergerworking with an offense that must utilize different parts to win games.

Bell and Brown are irreplaceable talents. More pointedly, the chemistry between Roethlisberger and Brown might never be replicated in Pittsburgh. The duo broke records with Brown’s six straight 100-catch seasons. But what many have described as a love-hate relationship seemed to boil over in late 2018, and Brown wants his proverbial fresh start.

The Steelers never got to a Super Bowl with these three as primary playmakers, and now they have no choice but to make a retooled offense work.

This is how it happens.

JuJu’s Year 3 jump: JuJu Smith-Schuster is on a historic pace through his first two seasons.

Putting Smith-Schuster’s early-career success in perspective: His 11 career 100-yard receiving games tie Hall of Famer Randy Moss for most ever before a player’s 23rd birthday, according to ESPN Stats & Information. And Smith-Schuster has until Nov. 22 to break the tie.

But 2019 will be his toughest test. Without Brown drawing safety help, Smith-Schuster must show he can beat the top corners consistently.

Comparing Smith-Schuster to Brown is difficult because they are different players. Brown’s quickness and footwork have gone unmatched for the last half-decade. Smith-Schuster has quickness but relies more on strength, body control and sure hands to make his plays.

It’s up to Smith-Schuster and Roethlisberger to take their connection to a new level. Late last season, the two found a rhythm in the back-shoulder play that could become their signature.

Embolden James Washington: Tight end Vance McDonald said it best when discussing the offense last year: The Steelers need Washington to realize how good he can be. McDonald brought up that point unprompted. Talent is not an issue with Washington, who makes difficult catches look routine in practice. The issue was confidence, which is common for rookies.

(To read more, click the link in the headline...)

HBO’s ‘Hard Knocks’ is looking for a team. It probably won’t be the Steelers

By: Frank Carnvale, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Last season didn’t go as hoped for the Pittsburgh Steelers and though the offseason has been full of intrigue and questions, at least they probably won’t have to air all their drama in front of camera for HBO’s “Hard Knocks.”

The show is currently working on landing the next team for the upcoming season.

There are 5 NFL teams - Oakland Raiders, San Francisco 49ers, New York Giants, Detroit Lions and Washington Redskins - that cannot say no to being featured on the show, according to rules laid out by the league in 2013.

To be exempt from the show, a team has to meet at least one of the following: have a first-year head coach; have appeared in the playoffs once in the past two seasons; or they have appeared on “Hard Knocks” in the past 10 years.

Steelers made the playoffs in 2017 season. They have never been on the show.

The Jets are reportedly on the show’s radar, but they rather not appear again, according to the New York Daily News . And as they have a first year coach with Adam Gase and were on the show in 2010, they likely can opt out of participating.

As far as the other teams that can be on the show, the Lions seem to be pushing HBO towards the Raiders.

“I think Jon Gruden is an excellent choice for that show,” Lions coach Matt Patricia said to ESPN . “I think the Oakland Raiders and everything they’ve got going on right now would be fantastic viewing for everybody to watch.”

Gruden responded with an “Lol” text to an ESPN’s reporter .

Each of the five teams would present some compelling story lines: The Raiders have second-year coach Gruden and are currently without a stadium to play in. Although the run-up to the 2020 season, prior to their Las vegas debut, may be more attempting to producers.

The 49ers have quarterback Jimmy Garropolo trying to make a comeback from injury, as well as talkative and entertaining cornerback Richard Sherman.

The Giants have dynamic wide-receiver Odell Beckham Jr., although there are questions about quarterback Eli Manning’s future with the team.

The Lions have Patricia and a perpetually under-performing team.

And the Redskins have another Gruden, head coach Jay, and owner Daniel Snyder has not shied away from controversies. Quarterback Alex Smith suffered a gruesome broken leg in 2018 and may not be back for the new season.

“Hard Knocks” debuted in 2001 and featured the Baltimore Ravens. Since then 11 NFL teams have been featured including most recently the Cleveland Browns.

The Bengals have been featured twice, making the Steelers the only AFC North team not to appear on the series.

Antonio Brown fallout: What Steelers can get, financial impact, timeline

By: Jeremy Fowler, ESPN

Antonio Brown wants out.

No more Photoshopped images of him in a San Francisco 49ers jersey or a FaceTime session with Jerry Rice to send his message. Brown was blunt Tuesday in a farewell social media video thanking Steelers fans for nine years, along with the hashtag #NewDemands.

This has bubbled for awhile. Brown has been unhappy, and agent Drew Rosenhaus told the Steelers of Brown’s position in late January.

As long as the Steelers get adequate draft capital for Brown, the All-Pro has played his last down as a Steeler. It’s over. Let’s leave the slightest wiggle room for an unprompted hug-it-out session, but that’s unlikely now.

Since everyone’s pretty clear on how things got here, let’s take a hard look at what’s next.

What do the Steelers want for Brown?

Most likely a first-round pick. That might be difficult with Brown’s antics and off-field legal issues, but the team believes Brown is too good not to get high-end capital.

”They will want a 1,” an NFL general manager said.

Brown’s palatable salaries of $12.625 million next season, $11.3 million in 2020 and $12.5 million in 2021 could entice teams to make a stronger offer -- unless Brown wants to negotiate a new deal, though he may not have much power in that case.

What can the Steelers realistically expect?

This answer will crystallize at the NFL scouting combine later this month, but two high-ranking NFL execs say if trading for Brown, they probably would give up a Day 2 pick (second or third round) for his services. One said that could fall to a fourth-round pick, depending on what’s discovered in the process.

Considering the cultural cost of keeping Brown on the roster, a Day 2 pick would have to get the job done if it’s the best offer.

(To read more, click the link in the headline...)