Published: Fri, January 11, 2019
Sports | By Johanna Francis

Steelers owner all but confirms team will part ways with Antonio Brown

Steelers owner all but confirms team will part ways with Antonio Brown

Art Rooney II publicly said it is "hard to envision" Antonio Brown remaining with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2019.

"That has to be taken into consideration", Rooney told the Post-Gazette of cap implications, "but, as I sit here today, I'm not going to say that's going to box us into anything". He hasn't picked up when Rooney and Mike Tomlin have called him.

If Brown is traded, the Steelers would save $1 million in cap space but would be stuck with a dead-money hit of just over $21.1 million. He is owed $22,165,000 against the cap next season and due a $2.5 million bonus on March 17. Brown enters the third year of a five-year, $72.7-million extension signed before the 2017 season. Sources close to Brown said the All-Pro has been frustrated with team dynamics for a while but has not mentioned the desire for a trade since the season ended.

Still, another team must meet the Steelers' asking price for any theoretical trade, and it's no guarantee one will step up at the right return.

The 30-year-old wide receiver reportedly had a blowup with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in the leadup to Pittsburgh's Week 17 win over the Cincinnati Bengals. Brown recently unfollowed his current team on social media and started following the 49ers, several of its players, and liked 49ers-related content, especially content which pushed a Brown-to-San-Francisco message. Whether Brown possibly could come back remains a big hurdle if Rooney's words are to be believed.

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"We'll see how things play out", Rooney said.

Rooney also went on to mention how he feels as if the relationship between Brown and the organization will be tough to mend.

The cryptic tweet plays along with Brown's catchphrase, "business is boomin".

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.

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