So much for Antonio Brown’s alleged immaturity, selfishness and having an act that was wearing thin on his coaches and teammates. You don’t make a guy who is anti-team and only cares about himself, the highest paid receiver in the league, the way the Steelers just did. And it was the right thing to do.
Because he might be the best receiver in the league, and considering Ben Roethlisberger turns 35 this week, this is a move they had to make. The right move. And a move they’re not going to regret.
Sure, Brown was out of line to put his coach on Facebook Live. And maybe he has gone into a funk at times when he doesn’t get the ball. But what star receiver hasn’t. The positives far outweigh the negatives with Brown. And they’re giving him a contract he has earned and deserves.
And as far as the rap that makes it about himself and isn’t all about the team… he and I discussed that on this show on radio row at the Super Bowl: Brown admitted he knew the rap, but doesn’t think it’s fair.
And admitted in that same conversation that firing up FB live was a mistake.
And now with this deal, he figures to spend the rest of his career with Pittsburgh, something he told me was very important to him.
The Steelers got this right. Brown was grossly underpaid in his last deal: he could have held out before the start of last season, but didn’t because the team told him they would take care of him. And they did just now. And it’s the right move.
Question is, will they do the same for Le’Veon Bell. They just hit him with the exclusive franchise tag, meaning he can’t negotiate with any other team.
Fact is, there’s no other back in the league like Bell. In fact, I’d go as far as to say, there’s never been another guy, at least in running style, quite like this guy. The Steelers hooked up Brown with a long term deal; are they going to do the same with Bell? The only concern is history of injury and the trouble he’s gotten into off the field. Both valid concerns.
But I’d make the same argument for him that I did Brown. Best in the game at his position, the quarterback is about to turn 35 and their window is going to slam shut any second now. Take care of Bell. They took care of Brown, and Bell is every bit as important to that team has Brown is.
The bet is, he’ll stay healthy and won’t do anything stupid to get himself suspended again.
In effect, they have to ask themselves, do we trust with this guy? And I’d say, yes. You can. I’d bet on Bell right now long term; and the Steelers should too, even if the position is devalued, because he does things that no one else at that position can do.