Antonio Brown trade rumors: Steelers ready to deal but no discount, reportedly tell Brown to stop hurting value

The Antonio Brown saga is legitimately hurtling towards a conclusion that felt unfathomable just weeks ago: the Steelers are going to trade Antonio Brown and confirmed as much on Wednesday afternoon.

GM Kevin Colbert, who also said at his press conference the Steelers would not be putting a tag of any kind on Le'Veon Bell, said the plan is to trade Brown but that the team had some restrictions on where it would deal the disgruntled wide receiver.

First and foremost, the Steelers won't submarine their own situation just to get rid of Brown.

"By no means are we going to make a trade or any type of move that will not be beneficial to Pittsburgh Steelers organization," Colbert said

Additionally, Colbert said Brown won't be able to "dictate" where he goes in a trade, and there are clearly teams on the Steelers "will not trade" list because of competitive reasons. You don't have to look hard to find those teams: the Bengals, Browns and Ravens all qualify because of the division, while the Patriots are probably on the list for reasons relating to AFC competition. 

Any and all of those teams can have Brown for the right price, but the Steelers aren't going send him to Bill Belichick for a fourth-round pick, a.k.a. The Randy Moss Special.

Currently the Steelers, Colbert said, have had no official discussions about a Brown trade.

"That will probably pick up as this announcement becomes more official on our end," Colbert said.

Sean Wagner-McGough and I talked about the Antonio Brown drama on the latest Pick Six Podcast, listen below and subscribe for daily NFL goodness right here.

The asking price for Brown isn't going to magically sink, either. Colbert said the team would not move Brown, considered by many to be the best wide receiver in the game, for "less than significant" compensation. In other words, teams might think the Steelers are desperate to get rid of Brown and consider offering a third-round pick, but the Steelers aren't inclined to part ways with Brown at that price. 

What Pittsburgh would love to get is a first-round pick. You won't see anyone like the 49ers or Jets give up their top selection in the 2019 NFL Draft for a 31-year-old diva wide receiver, but it's not unfathomable to imagine the Raiders giving up one of their later selections for Brown. Or for the 49ers to cough up their second-round pick, something the Steelers would also likely take. 

Part of the problem with Brown is he's spent the past month or so being a royal pain for the Steelers. As such, he's managed to submarine his value a pretty decent amount.

NFL Media's Aditi Kinkhabwala reported on Tuesday afternoon that Brown was essentially told during his meeting with Steelers executives, his agent Drew Rosenhaus and owner Art Rooney, that he needed to stop doing the dumb stuff he was doing so he could keep his value high enough for the Steelers to actually recoup something in a deal and make both parties happy.

Additionally, Tom Pelissero said on NFL Network that many around the league view Brown as a "distressed asset" because of concerns about his age and recent social media behavior. 

If concern about Brown's social media actions and ramblings and whatnot seem overblown, they're not. Peter King of NBC Sports wrote on Monday that he knows of one team, a "potential suitor" for Brown, that's been scared off by the things Brown has done on social media and the way he's looked in public.

Brown is still likely to be traded. And he's likely to be traded before the March 17 deadline for the Steelers to pay him a $2.5 million roster bonus. But there are still many questions about who will acquire him and how much the acquisition will cost.

If you take Colbert at his word, that price will still be pretty steep and the landing spot both won't be dictated by Brown and won't feature someone the Steelers remain in direct competition with. 

CBS Sports Senior Writer

Will Brinson joined CBS Sports in 2010 and enters his seventh season covering the NFL for CBS. He previously wrote for FanHouse along with myriad other Internet sites. A North Carolina native who lives... Full Bio

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