On Tuesday, Brown tweeted what seemed like a goodbye to Steelers fans—the latest step in what is beginning to feel like an inevitable divorce from Pittsburgh:
When Brown was benched for the team's last game of the season after he left a practice early, it seemed the sides were headed for a showdown.
It was a bizarre year for the superstar wideout. As ESPN.com's Jeremy Fowler noted in early January:
"Brown's Week 17 absence punctuates a bizarre year for the All-Pro. Brown threatened a reporter over a story he didn't like, became incensed on the sideline during a Week 2 loss, responded on social media to a critique from a former Steelers employee with the line 'Trade me let's find out,' and faced lawsuits over allegations that he threw furniture over the 14th-floor balcony of a South Florida apartment balcony."
Still, his talent is unmistakable. The seven-time Pro Bowler and four-time First-Team All-Pro has registered at least 100 receptions, 1,200 receiving yards and eight touchdowns in six straight years. He would upgrade just about every passing offense in the NFL.
Certainly, he'd represent a major improvement for teams projected to be in the running to trade for him such as the Niners, New York Jets, Oakland Raiders, Arizona Cardinals and Miami Dolphins, among many other franchises. None of those squads have a game-changing No. 1 receiver.
Brown would provide that, though it's unclear if the Steelers will trade him. Given the mounting issues between the sides, however, it wouldn't be surprising to see Pittsburgh pull the plug this offseason.