PITTSBURGH — Art Rooney II, the owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers, says it would be “hard to envision” disgruntled wide receiver Antonio Brown still being with the team when it assembles for training camp in July, according to a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette report.
In an interview with the Post-Gazette Thursday, Rooney did not specifically say the Steelers are looking to trade Brown, but it’s clear such a move is possible.
“There’s not much we can do right now; we have time to make a decision,” Rooney told the Gazette. “We’ll look at all the options. We’re not going to release him, that’s not on the table. But I will say all other options are on the table.
“Whether the situation can be reconciled and have him back on the team next year, we’re a long way away from thinking that can happen. We’re not closing the door on anything at this point.”
Brown is due to receive a $2.5 million roster bonus on the fifth day after the start of the new league year, which is slated to begin on March 13. So it’s likely the Steelers would make a decision on his future by March 17, the Gazette reports.
The All-Pro wideout will count $22.1 million against the salary cap next season. And even if the Steelers trade him, he would still count $21.1 million against the cap, though the team would save $15.1 million in real money.
The Gazette says Rooney indicated the salary cap would not be a factor in any decision the team makes.
“That has to be taken into consideration, but, as I sit here today, “I’m not going to say that’s going to box us into anything,” Rooney said. “If we decide something has to be done, we’ll figure out how to deal with that.”
Asked specifically if a trade was a possibility, Rooney said, “I’m not going to use those words. All options are on the table. We have two months to go before we can do anything. There’s no sense making the decision now. We’ll see how things play out. Maybe he decides to come talk to us some day and we learn more about where he is. We’ll see.”