In the aftermath of a very public flirtation between the Steelers and the Bills over a possible trade of Antonio Brown that fell through, where do the Steelers go from here?
The Steelers have until March 17 to trade Brown before his $2.5 million roster bonus kicks in. With the new league year starting March 13, one of the teams contending for Brown may realize their free-agent targets aren’t likely to commit, opening up theoretical cap space for a Brown deal. But that’s assuming there’s a team willing to take a leap of faith on Brown, who has cut off communication this offseason with Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, himself a Super Bowl-winning quarterback on a contending team.
Brown can essentially opt out of any potential trade by pledging not to report to his new team, as he reportedly did with the Bills, and Albert Breer reports Brown is seeking an extension that would make him football’s highest-paid receiver. Those two factors combine to dramatically narrow the pool of teams available to the Steelers as a trade partner, which could in turn potentially drive down his asking price.