Steelers take on $21.12 million in dead money by trading Antonio Brown
The Antonio Brown saga has come to an end with the Pittsburgh Steelers dealing him to the Oakland Raiders. The Steelers got a third and fifth round pick for one of the best wide receivers in the league, but the cost is much more.
In the 2019 season, the Steelers will be taking a $21.12 million cap hit from Brown’s contract, per Spotrac. Though it is hard to truly blame Pittsburgh as their start player did everything he could to deplete the team’s leverage.
Bill Barnwell of ESPN points out that eating that amount of dead money is only customary in extreme cases involving legal issues, such as Ray Rice. He also says that it can be due to a massive rebuild, listing Marcell Dareus as the example.
Frankly, Brown gave the team no choice but to trade him at a cheap price. This whole media frenzy started, and each step of the way seemed to squeeze the Steelers out of any leverage they had. The last straw was the verbal agreement with the Buffalo Bills.
There was a trade in place, and the story was over…until it wasn’t.
Antonio Brown indicated he would not report to Bills if traded, according to source.
— Gerry Dulac (@gerrydulac) March 8, 2019
There went the last ounce of leverage the team had. Brown was openly telling the team, and the public, what would be happening with him and his future.
Apparently, his future was never in Buffalo with talented rookie quarterback, Josh Allen.
The $21.12 million cap hit is not ideal for the Steelers, but when it comes down to it they had no choice. It was either trade Brown exactly where he wanted to go, for less than he is worth, and take the cap hit, or go through another Le’Veon Bell-type situation in 2019.
That is one expensive trade for the team dumping the asset.