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NFL Rumors: Anonymous Exec Says Antonio Brown Forcing His Trade Is 'Dangerous'

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistMarch 28, 2019

CHARLOTTE, NC - FEBRUARY 17: NFL player, Antonio Brown smiles and laughs during the 2019 NBA All-Star Game on February 17, 2019 at Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Tom O'Connor/NBAE via Getty Images)
Tom O'Connor/Getty Images

Some executives around the NFL are worried that Antonio Brown's forcing a trade from the Pittsburgh Steelers will set a "dangerous" precedent other stars might try to follow.

"It's a problem. Other star players see this and might want to do the same," an executive told Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com. "I know the Steelers had a difficult situation and needed to get rid of him. But they had other options."

The Steelers traded Brown with three years remaining on his contract and incurred a $21.1 million cap hit, the highest dead-cap number for a player in NFL history.

Brown demanded a trade in part because he had no guaranteed money remaining on his deal, and the Steelers historically do not renegotiate before the final year of a player's contract.

His tactics, which included social media posts and criticizing quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and team management, worked. The Steelers traded Brown to the Oakland Raiders for third- and fifth-round picks, a paltry sum for perhaps the NFL's best receiver.

Running back Le'Veon Bell signed with the New York Jets this offseason after sitting out the 2018 season rather than playing on the franchise tag in Pittsburgh. Bell told Fowler players around the league are taking stock of their value and want more long-term security.

"I've seen too many injuries not to value that," Bell said. "I've seen the Steelers pretty much cut Troy Polamalu, a future Hall of Famer. [Polamalu retired with two years left on his contract.] AB did what he felt was best for him. My situation was different, but we both wanted to get our fair value. That's what every player wants."

The actions Brown took to make the Steelers deal him are borderline historic. We haven't seen a player so brazenly push for a trade in the NFL since Terrell Owens forced his way out of Philadelphia.

Odds are this is more of a once-in-a-generation situation than anything we'll see on a regular basis. That said, the topic of greater guarantees in contracts will undoubtedly come up when the NFL and NFLPA sit down for CBA negotiations.

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