Teams Pittsburgh Steelers - The Steel Curtain

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James Conner sets team record for most TDs in first eight games
Posted by Charean Williams on November 4, 2018, 6:58 PM EST

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The Steelers make it clear they do not miss Le'Veon Bell. They say it not with their words, but with James Conner‘s numbers.

Conner isn’t just doing things Bell has never done; he’s doing things no Steelers running back ever has done.

Let that sink in.

Conner has 10 touchdowns in the first eight games, a feat no player in team history has accomplished. Bell’s career high in a season is 11.

It’s not even surprising,” offensive lineman David DeCastro said, via Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “We expect more from him. That’s the standard here.”

Conner has 100-yard games in each of the past four games, all Steelers victories. He has 474 rushing yards and 215 receiving yards on 108 touches the past four games.

He is unconcerned about his workload.

“I’m built for it,” Conner said.

Bell had 1,086 scrimmage yards through eight games in his second NFL season, his first Pro Bowl and All-Pro season; Conner has 1,085.
 

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What the hell is wrong with AB?

Antonio Brown greets local media with one-finger salute
Posted by Mike Florio on November 8, 2018, 6:57 PM EST

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Contrition isn’t one of the tools in Antonio Brown‘s bag.

On the same day he was pulled over for driving his Porsche in excess of 100 miles per hour in the Pittsburgh area, Brown arrived at Heinz Field driving the same vehicle and, according to Beau Berman of WTAE-TV in Pittsburgh, gave the finger to the station’s cameras three times.

It’s unknown whether Brown will face any team-imposed discipline for the earlier incident. The speeding occurred on McKnight Road, an undivided, multi-lane street that has numerous intersections and is routinely congested.

The posted speed limit is 45 miles per hour.

Brown has had a rough year, from a P.R. standpoint. He threatened an ESPN reporter, he had a sideline eruption during a game, and he has been sued for trashing an apartment and throwing furniture from a 14th-story balcony, with the furniture allegedly coming close to striking a toddler.
 

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Le’Veon Bell shouldn’t show up
Posted by Mike Florio on November 9, 2018, 5:28 PM EST


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Despite some curious and confusing accounts this week regarding who knew what and when and why the Steelers would tip their hands regarding a legal position that could allow them to franchise-tag and trade running back Le'Veon Bell next year, the various choices and consequences seemingly have come into focus, once and for all.

Bell can show up by Tuesday and make up to $6 million in base salary for the balance of the year and head to free agency in March, or he can not show up and head to free agency in March. Either way, he’ll be a free agent in March.

At this point, then, the smart move would be to stay away.

If, as the Steelers reportedly would concede, Bell’s franchise tender in 2019 would be the average of the five highest-paid quarterbacks even if he doesn’t play at all in 2018, Bell should treat the balance of his forfeited pay as insurance of sorts on the large payout he’ll undoubtedly receive on the open market in 2019. Even if the Steelers apply the transition tag on Bell (if he doesn’t show up, the transition tender would be $14.54 million), the Steelers most likely wouldn’t match any offer sheet he signs with another team, due both to the dollars that will be involved and the manner in which the deal is structured. The Steelers won’t fully guarantee money beyond the first year of a veteran contract, which means that a two-year or three-year full guarantee at signing would be enough to scare them away from matching. (Besides, the fact that they have James Conner under contract for two more years at bargain-basement rates makes Bell a luxury the Steelers don’t need to afford.)

So the Jets or the Buccaneers or the Browns or some other team with the cash and cap space would put together an offer that would dwarf the value of the deal that Bell rejected in Pittsburgh, and he’d have extreme financial security through 2020 and possibly 2021.

What about the $14.54 million he’s losing this year? He’ll never earn that back, right? Technically, yes. But as a practical matter Bell arguably has extended his career by a full year by taking a full year off, reducing the wear and tear and allowing him to tear it up another year deeper into his 30s. Think of it as an advance on his eventual retirement. If he still plays for as many seasons as he would have played if he’d played this year, he’ll ultimately be in a better place financially, because the deal he signs with a new team in March 2019 will be much better than the deal he could have signed with the Steelers in July 2018. (And, trust me, the deal he signs in March 2019 will be much better than the deal he could have signed with the Steelers in July 2018.)

If Bell shows up, he would expose himself to up to seven games of injury risk, capped by ultra-intense postseason games, which would pay him peanuts in comparison and put him in the awkward position of choosing between assuming enhanced injury risk or packing it up and walking out in January.

So with more than $8.5 million already gone, Bell should give up the other $6 million and prepare for the many millions he’ll be getting in March, if as we all now know (and barring a switcheroo from the Steelers) he will hit the open market next year even if he doesn’t show up this year.

That’s where we are. It doesn’t matter how we got here (unless the Steelers and the NFL do indeed intend to eventually argue that Bell isn’t eligible for a quarterback-based franchise tender in 2019 if he doesn’t show up in 2018). Faced with showing up and making $6 million or staying away and preserving the ability to cash in next year, the smart play is to cash in next year.

Some may say that other teams will view Bell differently if he doesn’t show up at all. To that I’d say, “Hogwash.” He already made a business decision to skip 10 weeks and give up $8.55 million. At this point, the best business decision is to skip seven more weeks, give up the balance of the franchise tender, and wait for one or more of 31 teams to offer him something along the lines of $18 million per year with upwards of $40 million fully guaranteed at signing.

Which will happen. Great players rarely get to the open market unfettered. When they do, they get paid. A lot. Regardless of whether they made any past business decisions aimed at preserving their current and future earnings.
 

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Season is going better than what the outlook was when Steelers drew to Cleveland Browns to start the season off as well as the Le’Veon Bell fiasco.

Rams, Chiefs and New Orleans look like much better sides than the Steelers at the moment but I don’t know, I have a good feeling this season for some reason. I think they can go as far as the Super Bowl even with the Chiefs being front runners of the AFC at the moment.
 

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I think this is a worse oversight than Stephen A. Smith's a couple of weeks ago....

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Could Keith Butler’s blunder cause trouble for him, or his boss?
Posted by Mike Florio on December 28, 2018, 10:58 PM EST


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Of all the various forms and fashions of dysfunction that the Steelers periodically display on the watch of coach Mike Tomlin, none have called into question his basic knowledge of and approach to the game. The gaffe that emerged on Friday regarding defensive coordinator Keith Butler’s stunning misbelief regarding the status of Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert does, indirectly.

In an interview with the team’s website, Keith Butler answered a pair of questions about Eifert, who last played in Week Four. From saying “well, Tyler’s doing a good job” to providing a longer assessment of Eifert’s skills, the man who runs Pittsburgh’s defense and who presumably has been studying film in advance of a showdown with the Bengals on which a playoff berth hinges didn’t realize immediately (or at all) that Eifert landed on injured reserve in early October.

Remember when Rams coach Sean McVay rattled off in a minute or so the strengths of every player on the Bears’ starting defense and how some in the media reacted to the display in hyperbolic fashion and how some in the media then pointed out how hyperbolic it was to praise an offensive-minded head coach for knowing the names of the players on the defense he is preparing to face? Maybe it’s a talent more rare than previously believed.

Or maybe not. Maybe Butler’s blunder exposes him as potentially unfit for the job he holds. And maybe the accountability will move up a level to the man who supervises Butler.

If Butler’s brain fart wasn’t a one-time thing, Mike Tomlin knows or at least should know that Butler either isn’t putting in the work or can’t process the information, unless Tomlin also isn’t putting in the work or processing the information. Indeed, if there’s a flaw so basic and fundamental in Butler’s understanding of the players he’ll be trying to stop on Sunday, how many other flaws exist that aren’t widely known, both as to Butler and as to Tomlin?

The Steelers pride themselves on not firing coaches, and this isn’t a “fire Tomlin” take. It’s a fair, objective look at one of the most surprising cognitive lapses in recent coaching history and the consequences that could flow from it.

Next month, the Steelers celebrate the 50th anniversary of the hiring of Chuck Noll. They’d have only two other coaches since then, with Tomlin wrapping up his twelfth season. If they fail to qualify for the postseason this year, it will be only the fourth time that has happened under Tomlin. Surely, one season of significant underachievement won’t be enough to get Art Rooney II to make a change.

But this Tyler Eifert thing should at a minimum get Rooney, a lawyer by training and trade, to ask some tough, pointed questions behind closed doors, the answers to which at a minimum could cause Rooney to view Butler and/or Tomlin differently as 2019 approaches.
 

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Ben Roethlisberger: I don’t think our window’s closed
Posted by Charean Williams on December 30, 2018, 8:31 PM EST

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Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will return and expects the Steelers to be back, too.

I’ll be back and feel good,” Roethlisberger told reporters after Sunday’s win over the Bengals, via video from Chase Williams of WPXI. “We’ve got guys that just got better. We’ve got young guys who just kept getting better — guys like JuJu [Smith-Schuster], and I think James Conner. Guys that are just going to keep getting better. So I don’t think our window’s closed.”

Roethlisberger campaigned to keep things together as much as possible for next season despite the disappointment of the past couple of seasons.

He apparently doesn’t need any time this year to contemplate his future as he did after last season’s home loss to the Jaguars in the divisional round of the postseason.

“I’ve got one year left on my contract,” Roethlisberger said, via Jeremy Fowler of ESPN. “As long as
Maurkice Pouncey is back, I’ll be back.”

The Steelers haven’t played in a Super Bowl since the 2010 season. They (likely) will miss the postseason for the first time in five seasons. (The Steelers actually — technically — aren’t dead yet. They still can get into the postseason as a wild-card team if the Titans and Colts tie tonight.)

Pittsburgh needed the Browns to beat the Ravens to clinch the division title, and many of the Steelers stayed on the field watching the end of that game after their game ended. They left Heinz Field with only themselves to blame, having lost four of their last six games.

“You want to win a Super Bowl every year. Every team does,” Roethlisberger said. “Only one team gets to. We made the playoffs the last few years, so we got a little spoiled in that sense.

“We actually got a little spoiled because we went to a lot of Super Bowls early, right? So we kind of thought we were going to do it every year, or every other year, or every third year. It’s not that easy. Look at teams who have never been there, or teams how long it takes them between Super Bowls or playoff runs. But we still strive for that every year.”​
 

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Report: Antonio Brown missed game for disciplinary reasons, not injury

Posted by Charean Williams on December 31, 2018, 4:16 PM EST



AP


Steelers receiver Antonio Brown was inactive Sunday, but it had nothing to do with a knee injury. According to Gerry Dulac and Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Pro Bowler’s absence came in the wake of a heated dispute with a teammate that led to him missing practice last week.
Per the newspaper, Brown and a teammate got into it during Wednesday’s walk-through, and the receiver threw a football in anger at an unnamed player. Brown missed practice the rest of the week, which was his decision and not the team’s.
Brown attended the game, expecting to play, but left at halftime.
Brown played in Week 16 against the Saints despite missing a mandatory morning meeting the week of that game.
One player told the Post-Gazette the situation was “embarrassing” and “the worst I’ve seen” with the way it was handled.
Brown missed practice Wednesday with what the Steelers called a coach’s decision. The team added a knee injury when Brown didn’t practice Thursday, and coach Mike Tomlin told reporters Friday that the wideout was undergoing tests on his knee.
Brown made 104 catches for 1,297 yards and 15 touchdowns this season, but Steelers players voted JuJu Smith-Schuster team MVP last week.
 

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Are Steelers moving toward a divorce from Antonio Brown?

Posted by Mike Florio on December 31, 2018, 5:09 PM EST









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The Steelers have dealt with plenty of distractions this year, several of which trace to star receiver Antonio Brown. And the latest of which could be the last straw.
The stunning report from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that Brown basically skipped out on practice, prompting the team to fabricate an injury report as cover for his absence, and then showing up Sunday with the goal of playing before being shut down suggests that the two sides have passed the point of no return. If that’s the case, what can the Steelers do?
Based on his contract, not much — without taking a massive cap hit. Thanks to a $19 million signing bonus paid in 2017 and a $12.96 million restructure bonus paid in 2018, the Steelers would carry $21.12 million in dead money if they cut or trade Brown. (They could release him in March with a post-June 1 designation, resulting in $7.04 million counting against 2019 and $14.08 million counting against 2020.)
Whenever a decision is made, something needs to happen by the fifth day of the league year, which begins in March. That’s when Brown earns another $2.5 million roster bonus. Presumably, the Steelers would want to cut or trade him before then.
If they even want to cut or trade him. But with JuJu Smith-Schuster, the team’s 2018 MVP, emerging as a great player and the Steelers surely weary of a never-ending circus with Brown that traces at least back to his ill-advised locker-room Facebook Live routine after a playoff win over the Chiefs, it could be time for the two sides to separate.
Unfortunately for the Steelers, it may be impractical from a cap standpoint.
 

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Report: Ben Roethlisberger the player who angered Antonio Brown

Posted by Charean Williams on December 31, 2018, 5:25 PM EST



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The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported Monday that Antonio Brown‘s dispute with a teammate led him to walk out last week. We now know the name of that player: Ben Roethlisberger.
Mark Kaboly of The Athletic reports that it was the Steelers quarterback who had a football thrown at his feet by an angry Brown. The disagreement between Roethlisberger and Brown occurred at a Wednesday walk-through.
Brown did not practice last week, with the Steelers listing him as a “coach’s decision” Wednesday and with a knee injury on Thursday and Friday.
The Pro Bowl receiver did not play in the game for disciplinary reasons not an injury concern, according to the Post-Gazette.
 

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The drama unfolds.

Looks like AB "elected to sit out practice last week after an unspecified heated dispute with a teammate, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has learned.

Several sources said the Steelers’ decision to not play Brown against the Bengals had nothing to do with any type of knee injury.

The disagreement occurred Wednesday morning during a routine walk-through practice that precedes their regular afternoon practice on the South Side. Brown became disgusted and threw a football in anger at one of his teammates, several sources said.

After that, Brown did not practice the rest of the week. According to a source, it was Brown’s decision not to practice with his teammates.

He did not attend Saturday’s walk-through practice and skipped the Saturday night meeting at the team hotel — the latest in missed meetings by the All-Pro receiver. Brown was never on the field for the start of the game against the Bengals and left Heinz Field at halftime, according to multiple sources.

According to several sources, Brown showed up at Heinz Field expecting to play against the Bengals. That surprised several players, including one who called the situation “embarrassing” and “the worst I’ve seen.” That player said the entire situation and the way it was handled affected his desire to play in the game.

Brown did not practice all week and was listed as questionable on the injury report before the game. When he did not practice on Wednesday, the reason listed on the official report was “coaches decision.” On Thursday, the reason was listed as “coaches decision/knee.”

When offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner was asked about Brown after Thursday’s practice, his short reply was, “I’m not going to answer any questions about Antonio. Next.”

Tomlin said after Friday’s practice that Brown was having his knee tested because his All-Pro receiver “didn’t feel comfortable enough to [practice].” But several sources indicated Brown’s knee wasn’t an issue at all and was never tested.

Brown never even tried to test his knee in pregame warm-ups, despite Tomlin indicating his status for the Bengals would be a game-time decision.

At least one teammate phoned Brown in the days leading up to the game, but he did not return the call.

A week earlier, while his teammates were attending a daily mandatory morning meeting, Brown was in the building but skipped the meeting. He still played in the 28-24 loss in New Orleans.

At least one player indicated after the game Brown’s absence could have cost the Steelers a victory against the Bengals."
 

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Mike Tomlin has lost control of the team, there's no question who runs the locker room in Pittsburgh. It certainly is not Tomlin.
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This is the demise of Pittsburgh if I haven't seen it yet. You gotta wonder what's gonna be the last straw for the Rooney family in terms of the drama and who runs the team. Tomlin has lost the locker room long ago, and the results are showing on the field. The Steelers are on the downtrend, and it's getting ugly.
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Man has he become out of control. He really has lost his way and let the diva WR get to him.
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What a circus of a coach, player, team, entire organization the Steelers have become. They'll also lose Bell and Brown this offseason. And have squandered a lot of in the last five drafts in particular.
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More on this story: Apparently AB had his jersey ready to play but decided not to dress and left the stadium at halftime....

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The "teammate" AB had a dispute with was indeed Big Ben. He skipped the Steelers' exit meeting today and players are upset that Tomlin never addressed this once. Here's a good summary of what happened....

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Any competent organization would’ve fired Tomlin already.
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Pittsburgh's total incompetence comes at the right time for the AFC North. Baker Mayfield gonna dominate for the next 10 years, Lamar too, and the Bengals with a new direction after Marvin Lewis, could re-emerge.
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Meanwhile on steelerfury.com board, they have merged "Fck, Fire, Trade, Kill Mike Tomlin" threads.
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The Steelers could be a dumpster fire in the making.
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Still, imo, you gotta hand it to the Steelers. No one even knows who their GM is, no one's ever heard him speak or seen his face (exaggerating). Yet they yearly contend. They miss one playoffs and the whole fanbase is in tears and ready to skin people. That's a very good quality to have. Meanwhile, other organizations, even once-proud organizations that were strong like the Steelers in the 70s....they have really lost their way and the fanbases console themselves with eternal hope despite the constant front office clown shows that go on.
 

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Antonio Brown is "likely gone" via trade this offseason. A big deal has been made of the $21.12 million dead cap hit trading Brown before June 1 would create, but the real money savings is huge for the Steelers. Brown is due a $2.5 million roster bonus on the fifth day of the new league year in March. And Tomlin has already admitted there comes a point Brown is more of a problem for the team than he is useful. Brown turns 31 this summer and is signed through 2021.
 

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wow what a baby....

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Teams should vote on MVP after the season ends (or not at all)
Posted by Mike Florio on January 3, 2019, 1:32 PM EST

If Steelers receiver Antonio Brown‘s latest incident traces to the team vote that made receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster the 2018 team MVP (and multiple sources tell PFT it did), here’s a question that others with prominent jobs in the NFL are asking: Why do the Steelers vote for a team MVP before the season has ended?

(The broader question is why vote for a team MVP at all? Not every team does.)
Nothing good comes from naming a team MVP before the season ends. In contrast, nothing bad comes from not naming a team MVP until the season ends.

So why do the Steelers do it? It’s apparently been part of the fabric of the organization for so long that no one ever asked, “Why are we doing this with games left?”
Someone should be asking that now.
The Steelers should be doing more than asking the question. They should resolve the question by simply waiting.

If the outcome of the vote did indeed spark Brown’s walkout, what would have happened if the Steelers had simply waited to take the vote? Maybe an eruption was inevitable. Maybe it wasn’t. Regardless, the added ingredient became the spark, and without the spark maybe the fire never starts.

While coach Mike Tomlin bears no responsibility for the timing — voting on the award predated his arrival — nothing has stopped him from taking a step back and saying, “Maybe we should wait on this.”
Now, there’s no maybe to it. The Steelers shouldn’t vote on an MVP until every game has been played, and that should be one of the first changes Tomlin implements.
 

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Team MVP snub may have sparked Antonio Brown’s ire
Posted by Mike Florio on January 3, 2019, 10:43 AM EST

So what prompted Steelers receiver Antonio Brown to go AWOL, only days after having his best game of the season? Some are pointing to the internal vote that resulted in not Brown but receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster being named the team’s MVP for 2018.

The team announced that Smith-Schuster won the award on Thursday. Not Brown, who was in the discussion for NFL MVP in 2017 — and who won his franchise-record fourth team MVP award last year.

If the players learned about it on Wednesday, the outcome would help explain why Brown was feeling disrespected and unappreciated on the practice field, where he reportedly threw a football at Ben Roethlisberger and stormed out.

Simms and I have been batting around that theory throughout the week on PFT Live, and Albert Breer of SI.com cites an unnamed source in support of the notion that the MVP vote sparked the eruption.
“He was unreal in New Orleans, we still lost, and the vote comes out and it’s JuJu,” the unnamed source told Breer. “So [Brown] shows up for work, he’s not voted MVP, he’s in a bad way, and that carried over into the walkthrough.”

Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com reports that Brown wanted to see whether the Steelers would thrive without him, and whether Smith-Schuster would perform at a high level without Brown on the field to draw attention away from the second-year player.
Thursday’s announcement, which came at a time when no one outside the organization knew about the latest Brown incident, sparked speculation that quarterback Ben Roethlisberger would be miffed about the snub. But the player most upset by the outcome apparently was Brown.

Again, the players vote for the MVP award. At a time when much has been said regarding whether the players would welcome Brown back, it’s fair to ask whether Brown wants to return. That’s a critically important question; how it’s resolved will go a long way toward determining how the relationship between Brown and the Steelers unfolds in 2019
 

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With trade talk hovering, here’s a closer look at Antonio Brown’s contract

Posted by Mike Florio on January 3, 2019, 10:16 PM EST









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It’s unclear whether the Steelers want to keep receiver Antonio Brown, and it’s unclear whether he wants to stay. His contract provides clarity as to a variety of issues that will be relevant to the decisions that will be made by the Steelers and/or Browns in the coming weeks.

Here’s a look at specific aspects of Brown’s most recent contract that should be considered by the Steelers, by Brown, and by anyone trying to figure out what will happen next.

1. The structure.
Two years ago, the Steelers signed Brown to a four-year, $68 million extension. Consistent with the team’s refusal to guarantee money beyond the first year, the contract contained only $19 million in fully-guaranteed money, paid out in the form of a signing bonus. By not including fully-guaranteed payments beyond the first year, the Steelers sacrificed any leverage that would go along with having the ability to void future guarantees. Instead, the Steelers can recover only the unearned portion of Brown’s signing bonus ($11.4 million at this point), for limited circumstances such as retirement.

2. The restructuring.
The Steelers routinely convert large base salaries into guaranteed payments as a cap-management device. Entering the second year of Brown’s contract, the Steelers switched $12.96 million of Brown’s $13.875 million base salary into a guaranteed payment, spreading $3.24 million over each of the remaining four years. The Steelers can’t get any of that money back, but they’ll have to account for the remaining $9.72 million under the cap, whether he’s on the team or not.

3. The roster bonus.
Brown’s 2019 compensation package consists of a $12.625 million base salary and a roster bonus of $2.5 million. The roster bonus comes due on March 17. As a practical matter, that’s the deadline for making a decision on Brown for the coming season — unless they want to pay him $2.5 million for the privilege of making a decision later.

4. The remaining value.
If the Steelers choose to trade Brown, the contract is attractive. Beyond the $15.125 million he’s due to earn in 2019, Brown has a base salary of $11.3 million in 2020 and $12.5 million in 2021. That’s a total of $38.925 million for three years, an average of $12.975 million per year. And that’s a good deal for whoever gets Brown — so good that he may want a raise from his next team, if a trade happens.

5. The cap hit.
Due to the $19 million signing bonus paid in 2017 and $12.96 million restructuring bonus paid in 2018, Brown has $21.12 million in paid but not allocated money. Which means that, if Brown is cut or traded before June 1, the Steelers will carry a $21.12 million cap charge for Brown in 2019. He also can be cut before June 1 with a post-June 1 designation. This would keep his salary on the books until June 1, at which time the cap hit would fall to $7.04 million this year, with the remaining $14.08 million hitting the cap in 2020. The same thing would happen if Brown is traded after June 1; however, the Steelers will have paid him $2.5 million, which would be added to his cap burden for 2019.

6. The net cap gain (in theory).
Some have shrugged at the potential cap consequences for cutting or trading Brown before June 1 because, if he’s on the team, his cap charge will be $22.165 million. In other words, moving him before June 1 actually results in a lower cap charge for 2019. Of course, the Steelers wouldn’t have him on the roster, which means they’d have to replace him within the confines of a total cap reduced by $21.12 million. Also, the “it will be cheaper under the cap to cut him” argument ignores the reality that the Steelers could have converted a large piece of the $12.625 million base salary to a guaranteed payment, easily carving millions off this year’s cap number, if he’s on the team. In other words, the cap number likely would have ended up being much lower than $22.165 million under normal circumstances.

7. The team’s leverage.
If the Steelers decide to keep Brown but Brown wants out, the Steelers will have a tough decision to make. Keeping him against his wishes could result in Brown holding out or, quite possibly, holding in. In other words, he could show up for all mandatory activities and do the bare minimum, with the least amount of engagement and enthusiasm possible, avoiding a fine or a suspension for conduct detrimental to the team. Of course, the Steelers could play hardball, ending years of apathy regarding Brown’s antics by pushing him hard, coaching him aggressively, and punishing him whenever he crosses the line. That could set him off, culminating in a T.O.-style four-game suspension and then, if the behavior continues, another one.

It therefore would be better for the Steelers if Brown just stayed away, but it’s unlikely he’d do it. There’s too much unpaid money to lose and too much unearned money he’d have to pay back if he stopped showing up.

Still, the situation has reached a point at which the team must make a decision as to whether Brown will be a part of it, and it needs to be a decision that takes into account all options and permutations and the consequences, intended and possibly unintended from whatever they do. Brown has decisions to make, too.

Perhaps, in the end, the best move could be for the team to cut the cord, bite the $21.12 million cap bullet, get what they can for Brown, and wash their hands of him for good.
 

GG.exe

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Steelers fired OLBs coach Joey Porter.

Porter is maybe the least deserving Steelers coach of a firing, considering the production from his unit. T.J. Watt was tied for seventh in the league with 13 sacks, and the Steelers as a team led the league in sacks with 52. Porter has a big personality, like a lot of members of the Pittsburgh locker room, so perhaps that played a role. Either way, Porter should quickly find another gig.

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Joey Porter firing could be shot across the bow at Mike Tomlin

Posted by Mike Florio on January 4, 2019, 4:00 PM EST



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Changes are indeed coming to Pittsburgh. And even more could be coming, if things don’t change in 2019.

The firing of outside linebackers coach Joey Porter, a move that many assume was made by coach Mike Tomlin but that history tells us could have been made a level or two higher than that, feels like something more than the periodic shuffling of an assistant coach whose time to go had come. It feels like a warning shot at Tomlin.

Look carefully at Tomlin’s statement; nothing in there says Tomlin made the decision to not give Porter a new deal. And based on the story told by former Steelers offensive coordinator Bruce Arians regarding his own “retirement” from early 2012, it’s entirely possible that Tomlin wanted to keep Porter but wasn’t allowed to do so by ownership.

Given the broader context, with constant distractions on Tomlin’s watch and the stunningly bizarre decision by receiver Antonio Brown to go AWOL before a key Week 17 game, it could be that the organization has decided to impose on Tomlin’s team that kind of discipline that Tomlin in recent years hasn’t. And no member of the coaching staff showed less discipline in recent years than Porter.

On the field, it was his provocation of Pacman Jones during a playoff game that prompted a rule change. Off the field, an arrest two Januarys ago. Then there were the tales of Tomlin’s and Porter’s antics at local high-school football games.

Typically, coaches get fired when there’s a deficiency with the performance of the players for whom they are responsible. The Steelers’ outside linebackers are doing just fine. This just feels like it’s about something more than Xs and Os. It feels like it’s the first tangible step toward putting Tomlin on notice that a team that prides itself on having three coaches in 50 years is starting to be ashamed by the connection between lack of discipline and inability to compete for championships.
 

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Ryan Clark: Antonio Brown cussed out Dick LeBeau, Mike Tomlin let it get out of hand

Posted by Michael David Smith on January 8, 2019, 4:57 PM EST









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Dick LeBeau was a Hall of Fame player in the NFL, and his long tenure as an assistant coach made him one of the game’s most respected figures. But Antonio Brown apparently didn’t show LeBeau respect.
That’s the word from former Steeler Ryan Clark, who once again described on ESPN today a time that he found Brown to be a bad teammate. Clark said that shortly after Brown signed a new contract in 2012, Brown verbally attacked LeBeau.
“Coming into the next practice, he just got his money, he cusses out Dick LeBeau. Coach LeBeau, somebody who Troy [Polamalu], myself, James Farrior, all respected so much that anything he ever said, there’s no reply,” Clark said. “We almost got into a physical altercation that day, me and Antonio Brown. Because my thing was, this is not how we behave. This is not how we act. And for sure we don’t talk to Coach LeBeau that way.”
Clark hasn’t played for the Steelers since 2013, but he said he has talked to players on the 2018 team who told him Brown has become a serious problem, and coach Mike Tomlin hasn’t handled it.
“This is a situation that Coach Tomlin has allowed to get out of hand. So now you have to think about moving him,” Clark said. “It’s been something that has been weighing on this team all year.”
From Clark’s perspective, Brown is a problem that has been weighing on the Steelers for several years.
 

A11dAtP0w3R

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Clark and Brown's little back and forth is highly amusing to me.

Low level thinker, Antonio, of course brought race into it last week, calling Clark an Uncle Tom.
 

GG.exe

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Emmanuel Sanders: Ben Roethlisberger needs to be a better leader

Posted by Michael David Smith on January 13, 2019, 11:32 AM EST



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Former Steelers wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders says that if Ben Roethlisberger were a better leader, some of the issues with Antonio Brown wouldn’t have arisen.

Sanders said on NFL Network that Roethlisberger should have taken it upon himself to see to it that things never reached the point where Brown is now on the trade block. Brown said that he and other Steelers receivers have noticed that Roethlisberger will go on the radio and blame them for problems with the team’s passing game, and it wears on the team over time.

“Me and Mike Wallace used to talk about this,” Sanders said. “If Ben called me out on a radio show, I would walk up to him and say, ‘Don’t do that. Keep my name out of your mouth.'”

Sanders said when he signed with the Broncos that he instantly saw how Peyton Manning was a better leader than Roethlisberger, and Sanders reiterated those comments this weekend.

“You’re the leader of this team. Be a leader,” Sanders said. “That’s the reason why my comments, when I first became a Denver Bronco, and I said Peyton Manning is a better leader than Ben Roethilsberger, all that has come to fruition. I don’t lie. I don’t hate anybody. I just speak the truth. And that’s the truth.”

Sanders isn’t alone in feeling that way. Just because Brown was in the wrong in how he acted during the last week of the season, that doesn’t mean Roethlisberger hasn’t been in the wrong in his dealings with his receivers, too.
 

Lsta062

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Steelers really need to get it together. The 2018-2019 campaign has been filled with drama from the beginning to the end that I think really distracted the club from their main aim in the NFL. I hope this ends soon.
 

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