Once the 2018 season ends, he Pittsburgh Steelers may try to waste little time in moving out disgruntled Pro Bowl wide receiver Antonio Brown.
According to ESPN's Chris Mortensen, the expectation is that the Steelers will trade away their 30-year-old superstar before March, when the 2019 offseason begins. Brown is signed through the 2021 campaign.
Brown became the subject of trade rumors after missing Pittsburgh's Week 17 home game against the Cincinnati Bengals. He was initially ruled out because of a knee injury, but Brown was actually benched after missing team practices and meetings last week.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported after the Week 17 game that Brown got into a confrontation with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger during a practice. It ended with Brown throwing a football in the direction of his quarterback before leaving.
After that, Brown reportedly failed to answer phone calls and text messages from teammates. Thus, the decision was made by head coach Mike Tomlin to bench his star wideout.
The Steelers went on to beat the Bengals in Week 17, but they were eliminated once the Baltimore Ravens beat the Cleveland Browns to clinch the AFC North division. It was the first time Pittsburgh missed the playoffs in five years, as a promising 7-2-1 start to the season went to waste.
2018 marked a drama-filled season for the Steelers, as Pro Bowl running back Le'Veon Bell opted to sit out the entire year after a contract dispute. Pittsburgh was able to ignore any distractions that the Bell situation could have caused. Bell is set to leave in free agency, while the Steelers seem poised to move on from Brown now.
What This Means
Though Brown remains one of the NFL's top all-around playmakers, the Steelers are simply deciding they can't deal with his behavior anymore. Moving out Brown will end an more drama, clear cap space and land them valuable draft picks in return. It seems like an easy decision for Pittsburgh at this point.