It’s clear at this point that there’s a lot of bad feelings between the Pittsburgh Steelers and receiver Antonio Brown, though most of them seem to be coming from Brown.
Owner Art Rooney, whose team has a great deal of money committed to Brown, wants to try to make things better.
One problem with that…
UPDATE (2:15 p.m. ET): NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, who initially reported the story, has now tweeted that Brown will meet with Rooney, “showing respect to the man in charge.”
Original story follows below.
Report: Brown won’t meet with Rooney
Citing sources, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport tweeted on Friday that Rooney has a property in Florida, as Brown does, and “hoped” to meet with Brown “to clear the air.”
“Brown has no plans to meet with Rooney, as he’s stated his intentions publicly,” Rapoport wrote. “Talks on AB’s future will ramp up in Indy.”
Brown has formally requested that the Steelers trade him, and earlier this week he posted a self-aggrandizing video on social media outlets saying goodbye to Pittsburgh fans.
‘Organizations got the fans tricked’
Brown, who only speaks through his social media feeds on Twitter and Instagram, tweeted on Friday morning, “Organizations got the fans tricked.”
Organizations got the fans tricked
— Antonio Brown (@AB84) February 15, 2019
What exactly does he mean? Who knows.
The 30-year-old seems determined to throw his temper tantrum to get his way, and if the Steelers give in, they’re not only setting a dangerous precedent, they would also be making a foolish financial decision. Cutting or trading Brown before June 1 carries a massive cost, as he’d still count $21.1 million against Pittsburgh’s 2019 salary cap.
The Steelers likely have no intention of taking that hit. Even with the 2019 salary cap expected to be $191 million per team, wasting 11 percent of your cap on a player no longer on the roster is unwise — especially since the Steelers currently have 38 players under contract for 2019 totaling $180 million.
In other words, in this situation, the team holds pretty much all of the cards, no matter what Brown believes.
While more than a few players can take issue with their contract relative to other players, Pittsburgh has been more than fair to Brown. In 2012, when he’d played just two seasons with three starts, the Steelers and Brown agreed to a five-year, $42 million extension; in 2017, he signed his current four-year, $68 million deal, a $17 million per year average that remains second-highest in the NFL (Odell Beckham Jr.’s contract has an APY of $18 million).
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