Antonio Brown Trade Rumors: Steelers Asked WR to Delay $2.5 Million Roster Bonus

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistMarch 4, 2019

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown stands on the sideline before an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Dec. 30, 2018, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Don Wright)
Don Wright/Associated Press

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown is set to earn a $2.5 million roster bonus, but the AFC North team reportedly wants to delay it.

Pro Football Talk reported the news, noting Brown declined the request.

Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk provided more context, explaining he earns the roster bonus by March 17 even though he won’t receive it until the 2019 season starts. Brown’s contract specifies he will be paid the bonus in weekly installments of $147,058.82 from Week 1 through Week 17, so a different team could ultimately assume the bonus if he is traded at any time before the season.

One source told Florio the $2.5 million bonus could be part of the negotiations during trade discussions.

Even though another team could assume the bonus if Brown is traded after March 17, there is still a financial reason the Steelers asked him to delay the date. According to Florio, it would go on Pittsburgh's cap on March 17, bringing the dead money the team would eat by trading the wide receiver from $21.1 million to $23.6 million.

If Brown is to be believed, the Steelers already decided they will trade the playmaker. He tweeted both sides "agreed that it is time to move on" following a meeting with team owner Art Rooney II.

Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reported the team agreed to pursue a trade as long as Brown and his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, didn't get involved by talking to potential suitors.

Talent is not the question with Brown, who is a seven-time Pro Bowler and four-time All-Pro who topped 1,200 receiving yards in six straight years. He also posted a career-best 15 touchdown catches in 2018 and didn't show many signs of slowing even at 30 years old.

Still, he missed the Week 17 game against the Cincinnati Bengals after a dispute with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. He also criticized the signal-caller on Twitter and has been open about his desire to play elsewhere.