In light of the Antonio Brown trade, it’s not the front office who hurt the Pittsburgh Steelers’ trade value for the NFL’s top receiver.
Late on Saturday night/early Sunday morning, the Pittsburgh Steelers agreed to terms to send Antonio Brown to the Oakland Raiders in exchange for a third and fifth round pick in the 2019 NFL draft. The news sparked feelings of relief that the saga is over and frustration at the return for such an elite player.
The Steelers found themselves in the middle of a standoff with their all-pro receiver Antonio Brown since week 17 concluded. The saga has lasted over two months and was riddled with drama throughout.
When things got crazy, it became clear Brown was not going to be a part of this team, one way or the other, by the time this played out. That thought became a reality when they sent him to Oakland.
This trade has sparked outrage among fans, not because Brown is gone so much as what he was traded for. That outrage is misplaced and this needs to be put into perspective.
When the news broke of Brown’s actions in week 17, it was a wild surprise to find out that things had gone down the way they did. Brown was a great teammate and hard worker, so it was very hard to imagine he would do something like that.
As time went on, it became a reality that Brown could be traded or wreak havoc on the locker room if they did not send him off. Brown began to speak on twitter, instagram, ESPN interviews and appearing on LeBron James’ show “The Shop” to voice his side of things.
We will likely never know what all has truly gone on behind closed doors between the Steelers and Brown but one thing is certain and that is the Steelers and Brown needed a divorce as soon as possible.
The rest of the league knew this to be the case which is why the offers for Brown were likely extremely modest because the leverage was not in Pittsburgh’s hands. Brown also had spoken freely about wanting a new deal with more guaranteed money which only complicated matters further.
The Steelers claimed they would not be held hostage by a player but that is essentially what happened in this whole debacle. Brown spoke and the things he said only continued to diminish any small leverage the Steelers may have had. We saw the leverage Brown had when trade talks with the Bills broke down after he refused to show up if sent to Buffalo.
Fans are coming for GM Kevin Colbert’s throat unfairly and here is why. The Steelers had no leverage and if he were not traded, no matter what the Steelers may have publicly stated, there was no way he would be able to come back and play again in Pittsburgh.
The Steelers were indeed held hostage by Brown and had limited options. Those options were either trade him and take what you can get or be forced to release him and get nothing at all in return.
Pittsburgh fans expected a huge haul for a guy who was outspoken this whole time as well as wanting even more money and that was just not going to happen. The best thing for both parties was a breakup and it is a shame it had to be as ugly as it was.
My message to fans would be calm down and be patient with the front office. They have 10 picks in the draft and more cap room than usual so sit back and have some faith.