The Steelers are still exploring trade options for star WR Antonio Brown, but he hasn't "closed the door on returning," reports Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, who says Brown remains in contact with the organization.
Rapoport notes that Brown should draw heavy interest on the market, but that the Steelers have not yet given him and his agent permission to find a team to help facilitate a trade.
The polarizing Brown, whose off-field issues have at times overshadowed his star-level play, was benched for the Steelers' final game of the season after skipping the prior day's game preparation. After Week 17, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin suggested the situation could be coming to a head.
In a piece for ESPN on Saturday, roughly 20 current or former teammates of Brown weighed in on him, with some not afraid to anonymously bash him.
Despite the off-field issues the 30-year-old Brown had another terrific year in 2018, reeling in 104 catches for 1,297 yards to go along with a career-high 15 touchdowns.
While Brown would give the Jets the dynamic No. 1 receiver they currently lack, would they be better off steering clear?
- In a poll of SNY's Jets personalities, none of them (including former teammate Willie Colon) listed Brown on their offseason wishlist.
- SNY's Ralph Vacchiano detailed on Jan. 1 why the Jets should steer clear of Brown.
- One dissenter is Jamal Adams, who recently seemed to be openly recruiting Brown on Twitter.
Brown is signed through the next three seasons, set to make $12.625 million in 2019, $11.3 million in 2020, and $12.5 million in 2021.
The Jets have roughly $94 million in cap space for the 2019 season, when they're expected to be very active in free agency. If they don't go after Brown via trade, the potential wide receivers on the free agent market include Golden Tate.