There have been conflicting reports that Antonio Brown wants to be traded out of Pittsburgh, but it certainly sounds like the Steelers are willing to move out their Pro Bowl wide receiver.
ESPN's Adam Schefter believes "The door to a trade has absolutely been opened," and that there some believe Brown "cannot come back to this team" as the chances of a trade in the offseason appear to be high.
Brown was benched for Pittsburgh's Week 17 game against the Cincinnati Bengals, after skipping out on practice and team meetings. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported earlier this week that Brown got angry with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger during a practice last week, tossing a football in the direction of his teammate at the end of the confrontation.
The Steelers missed the postseason for the first time in five years after losing four of their final six games, erasing a promising 7-2-1 start. Pittsburgh dealt with plenty of drama throughout the season, highlighted by Pro Bowl running back Le'Veon Bell's decision to sit out the whole campaign after a contract dispute.
Brown was no stranger to drama himself, prior to the whole Week 17 saga. He clashed with reporters, challenged the Steelers to trade him on Twitter and was seen confronting coaches on the sidelines. Thus, it's no surprise that Brown now finds himself in the trade rumor mill.
For the sixth straight season, Brown registered hit the 100-catch and 1,000-yard marks. Despite his age (30), and hefty contract, Brown is sure to draw interest on the trade market. Few players can completely change the dynamic of an offense like Brown.
What This Means
The Steelers have put up with Brown's behavior ever since they drafted him in 2010, but it sounds like the organization has decided they've had enough. There should be no problem finding a taker for Brown, should Pittsburgh indeed decide they want to trade him.