Sports

Joe Staley joins in on recruiting pitch for Antonio Brown

Joe Staley joins in on recruiting pitch for Antonio Brown

And that has now made an offseason for the Steelers that already was sure to be littered with questions about how to prop open that closing window of opportunity a little more ... shall we say ... drama-filled. Brown is due a $2.5 million roster bonus four days later on March 17, so it stands to reason that the team would decide his fate prior to that.

The Steelers found themselves in this situation - where their best skill-position player has demanded a trade - after Brown skipped out on practice before the team's do-or-die season finale against the Bengals and didn't play in the game.

Just last February, the Steelers decided Brown was worth a four-year, $68 million extension, the richest in National Football League history for a wide receiver at the time.

"We don't have to make those decisions right now".

The Steelers would absorb $21.12 million in 2019 dead money on the salary cap by trading Brown, but taking his $22.165-million cap charge off the books would offset that cost.

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In an interview with Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Thursday, Rooney said the Steelers have no plans to release Brown but that "all other options are on the table". We'll see how things play out.

Rooney acknowledged that teammates' opinions about Brown possibly returning in 2019 will be factors in the decision-making process.

Like clockwork, 49ers offensive tackle Joe Staley continued the team's efforts to recruit the WR, by tweeting a hand-waving emoji at Brown, in response to the receiver posting a picture of himself shaking hands with Rooney. He will also sit out of the Pro Bowl.

Brown ranks second in Steelers history behind Hines Ward in career receptions (837), receiving yards (11,207) and touchdown catches (74).


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