For the first time in five years, the Pittsburgh Steelers will not be in contention for the Super Bowl. If that wasn’t enough, turmoil in the locker room that has been rumored all year seems to be revealing itself in full form now that their season is over. Whether it be the Facebook Live incident of 2017 or the recent problems that have risen between Antonio Brown and Mike Tomlin it’s clear that things are not ready to be repaired any time soon.
In training camp this year, Brown left the city altogether with a mysterious injury. He then had a blow up on the sideline in a Week 2 matchup with the Chiefs. Most recently, before the team’s Week 17 game against the Bengals which had playoff implications riding on it, Brown removed himself from practice leading up to the game. He then requested from Tomlin the ability to play in the game, a request Tomlin denied. Add that to a series of missed meetings and practices and rumors of Brown’s issues with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and he may realize his time behind the Steel Curtain has run out. Brown has requested a trade out of Pittsburgh.
Some believe the team should work on repairing the fractured relationship and try and win another championship. I am not one of those people. Here’s why I think the Steelers need to blow it all up:
Roethlisberger is going to be 37 at the start of the 2019 regular season. He’s toyed with the idea of retiring before and given all of the recent drama and the fact that his body has taken a beating throughout his career I don’t think it’s a given he returns and if he does his time in the NFL is limited.
With that, the quarterbacks on the roster behind Roethlisberger are Josh Dobbs and Mason Rudolph. Dobbs has played in a total of 5 NFL games throwing for 43 yards 0 touchdowns and 1 interception while Rudolph was a rookie in 2018 seeing no time in a regular season game. Safe to say the team needs to win while they still have Big Ben.
The reason I believe the Steelers should move Brown is the opportunity to cash in big time. Let’s not forget they also have to deal with the Le’Veon Bell situation as well this offseason. Bell is another player I can’t see playing in the black-and-yellow in 2019.
As a 30-year-old running back, I don’t see Bell’s value being through the roof but if Pittsburgh can send off both Bell and Brown and stockpile picks and maybe a player or two they could set themselves up in a prime situation.
The Steelers have a quality defense and weapons on offense with James Conner shining this year and young talented receivers in JuJu Smith-Schuster and James Washington. The O-line for Pittsburgh is in the top half of the league, so I don’t think losing Bell and Brown would diminish the team too much, especially if the return is of good quality.
Brown’s character issues and Bell’s lack of recent playing time and both players’ ages may hinder the return in a trade, but I believe that at least in Brown’s case his talent level would be very hard to turn away from for a team picking in the top-10 of this year’s draft. The amount of talent Brown possesses is something you may not be able to find in the draft and if you have a coach you believe can squash the issues that have come up in Pittsburgh a trade would be more than worth it.
So if the Steelers could land a top-10 pick and potentially a 3rd or 4th for Brown and maybe a 2nd or 3rd round pick for Bell then they are on their way to adding pieces that may not replace the talent instantly but I see a solid supporting cast on this roster. If Big Ben only has a few more years left in his career why waste it arguing with players that won’t give you their best anyway?
The Steelers aren’t a team that normally goes big with trades or Free Agency, but when they have a locker room with some clear issues, I think it’s time to make a move and stay relevant as long as they can.