Most of us have all dealt with situations where we’ve experienced people voluntarily exiting our lives. As I frequently have mentioned in my time here at BTSC, I am happily married with children. However, I did not originally draft my wife. In fact, I am a veteran of a starter marriage. My original blue chipper, selected in 1999, chose not to re-up with me in 2003 and decided to test the waters of free agency. Even though I tried to franchise-tag her, she quickly signed a new deal elsewhere as a Restricted Free Agent. Actually, much like Emmanuel Sanders ten years later, there was strong belief that there was indeed collusion as she had met frequently and negotiated a deal with other teams. It took me a while to dip back into the talent pool myself, but after a few prove-it deals went awry...I finally inked a lifetime deal with a franchise player in 2007 and we’ve gelled as a team.
Why am I writing about my failed first marriage and waxing poetically about my self-perceived good fortune now? The answer is simple. Antonio Brown wants out of Pittsburgh just like my first bride wanted out of my marriage. But the main difference still remains the fact that AB is playing the victim and not doing anything to make this a clean break. But a truth in my past failures makes me think that there could be a good life for the Steelers after Antonio and for Antonio after the Steelers.
While I’m still of the perception that Antonio Brown is trying to sabotage trade efforts to force the team to cut him, I’m hoping that that scenario is only my own conspiracy theory and doesn’t occur. I am still holding out for the best possible return for No. 84. But what can they really get? There have been so many guesses of what sort of trade compensation the team could realize this offseason. There have been talks of players, picks of various rounds, a combo of players and picks etc.
The picks have varied from a first-rounder to a second, third, fourth or lower. One would think that if Martavis Bryant went for a third last year, that a player of AB’s caliber would go for a first. Amari Cooper went for a first last year and AB has the Hall of Fame resumé. However, AB’s age of 31 drives the price down for some. But he has just come off of a 1,297 yard/15 TD season. So a first-rounder could be doable if teams get in a bidding war. We’ve all paid more than we originally intended to for things we convinced ourselves that we wanted and couldn’t live without. If a team wants AB bad enough, they’ll do whatever it takes to outbid others. That could work out very nicely the Steelers’ way.
Teams like San Francisco, Indianapolis and the New York Jets were mentioned earlier on in the process. But denials have been made in the case of the Colts and Niners. Now teams like the New Orleans Saints, Oakland Raiders, Green Bay Packers, Washington Redskins and Tennessee Titans have surfaced as teams with serious interest in the disgruntled superstar. But just because calls have been made doesn’t mean that they aren’t just testing the waters. Dipping a toe is one thing, jumping in cannonball style is a whole other level and there’s no knowing who’s willing to go off the deep end for a player that may have already done so himself. Fans and pundits have been suggesting where they would rather see Brown go and it seems that playing for a coach named Gruden is much desirable for Steeler Nation.
Also last week, it came out that the Cleveland Browns’ General Manager, John Dorsey, has showed some back-handed interest in Brown as well. Mark Sessler of the NFL Network tweeted last week that Dorsey wouldn’t comment on another team’s player, but to make sure Kevin Colbert is aware of his cell phone number. Now it has been stated that the Steelers would not (in any way, shape or form) trade such a dangerous weapon to a team in their own division that they would face twice a year or conference rivals like the New England Patriots. that they could face with a Super Bowl bid on the line. Colbert went on to say that he would rather not see Brown twice a year, but did not definitively shot the door on that possibility. Ask yourself what you’d do if Brown was worth two number ones and a second to Baltimore, Cleveland, Cincinnati or New England. While that seems like an impossible return for Brown, it would be a very hard offer to slam the cards down and walk away from the table. For me, I’d be more inclined to take the best deal with the highest possible pick coming my way no matter what team it is, but there’s a good reason that I’m not the individual tasked with making personnel decisions.
At this particular juncture, I think a number one and a three could still be a possibility. But with Brown’s itchy Twitter fingers and penchant for a network camera, you never know how his value will fluctuate, day in and day out. But at this point the divorce is all but final and it all comes down to who’s waiting for who on the courthouse steps when court is adjourned.