On Thursday afternoon, Pittsburgh Steelers owner Art Rooney II made headlines when he said it would be "hard to envision" star wide receiver Antonio Brown on the team when they report to training camp in July. "We have two months to go before we can do anything".
"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".
Rooney indicates that the player has still refused to return phone calls from himself, Tomlin and teammates and did not appear for the compulsory end-of-season evaluation. Brown enters the third year of a five-year, $72.7-million extension signed before the 2017 season. Brown's current deal with the Steelers runs through 2021, with an average annual salary of $17 million.
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Another concern raised by fans Wednesday is how the coach will build a strong relationship with quarterback Aaron Rodgers . So I think we're in alignment there because, like I said before, this game is about winning.
A seven-time Pro Bowl and four-time All-Pro selection, Brown caught 104 passes for 1,297 yards and a career-high 15 touchdowns in 2018.
Perhaps the Colts or Jets, two teams flush with cap room, could place an inquiry. You'd be hard-pressed to imagine the Steelers trading Brown inside the division, even if there will be discussions in a lot of front offices around the league about the pros and cons of making an offer. That brought about plenty of speculation that Brown had played his final game in Pittsburgh's black and yellow. Later, it came out that Brown got into a heated dispute with Ben Roethlisberger, has issues with both Roethlisberger and Tomlin, and has requested a trade.
Rooney says cap considerations will play a factor in how the Steelers move forward.