Antonio Brown's unhinged offseason should be warning sign for all potential suitors

Alex Reimer
February 19, 2019 - 12:09 pm

In most circumstances, NFL players are right to pressure their clubs into giving them new contracts or trading them away. They are routinely screwed at the bargaining table and play the most violent game imaginable without the benefit of guaranteed contracts. Earl Thomas, who suffered a season-ending injury last season while playing on the franchise tag, symbolizes where the player lies.

But Antonio Brown’s relentless antagonism of the Steelers, who recently awarded him a four-year extension worth $68 million, is too far. The star wideout was held out of the team’s final must-win game against the Bengals, because of a reported practice blowup and skipped walkthrough. Mike Tomlin did not defend Brown afterwards, leaving him to think the Steelers’ head coach is responsible for the perception that Brown quit on the team, per AB’s Twitter feed. 

Yes, Brown participated in a recent “Ask Me Anything” session on Twitter, in which he said quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has an “owner’s mentality.” Brown followed that up with a bizarre Instagram video posted Monday. In it, while riding an elliptical sans shirt, Brown says he only wants guaranteed money from his next team.

“If your squad want to win, and your squad want a hungry wide receiver who the best in the whole world, someone hit my phone. Tell ‘em I ain’t doing no unguarantees, I ain’t even gonna play myself no more for this NFL, you heard?,” Brown said. “Hey, if your team got guaranteed money, tell ‘em call me. AB can’t do no more unguarantees”

Brown holds no leverage here. He has three years remaining on his contract and the Steelers would incur a $21 million cap charge in 2019 if they trade him away. Brown tweeted his meeting Tuesday with owner Art Rooney went well and both sides agree it’s best to move on, so it looks like Pittsburgh is positioned to honor Brown’s demand. 

But still, the Steelers put their faith in Brown with a four-year deal in February 2017. The following year, he couldn’t even bother finishing the season for them. He’s not in a position to make demands.

That’s not stopping Brown, however. NBC Sports’ Peter King reports his unhinged social media use has already scared away one potential suitor, and despite his incredible talent, his erratic behavior is a fair concern (he’s being investigated for an alleged domestic violence incident as well). 

Who would’ve thought Odell Beckham Jr. would be the more stable star receiver on the trade block this offseason? Even if the Steelers were willing to trade Brown to the Patriots, OBJ is the better target.  

Related: What Antonio Brown, Odell Beckham Jr. rumors mean for Patriots