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Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Football

Steelers will not rule out keeping Antonio Brown in 2019

Antonio Brown

Antonio Brown met with the Pittsburgh Steelers this week and the two sides agreed that a parting of ways would be best for all parties, but that does not mean the team is willing to sell the star wide receiver for pennies on the dollar.

While speaking with reporters on Wednesday, Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert acknowledged that trying to trade Brown is on the offseason agenda. However, he insisted that there will be no trade unless it benefits the team.

In all likelihood, that is Colbert’s way of trying to gain leverage in trade talks. According to Aditi Kinkhabwala of NFL Network, Steelers owner Art Rooney II urged Brown to stop hurting his own trade value when he met with him earlier this week.

Brown has done his best to force his way out of Pittsburgh, but the controversial tweets he has sent about Ben Roethlisberger and others reportedly scared at least one team. His antics have limited the list of potential suitors, and they may also inspire interested teams to low-ball the Steelers with offers. If that happens, Colbert says Brown will be back in Pittsburgh next season.

Steelers will let Le’Veon Bell become free agent, won’t use tag

LeVeon Bell

The Pittsburgh Steelers have no interest in dragging out the drama with Le’Veon Bell any further.

On Wednesday, Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert revealed that the team is not planning to use the transition tag on Bell, which means he will become a free agent next month.

Although they have franchise tagged him for the past two seasons, the Steelers still had the option of using the transition tag on Bell this offseason. That would give them the right to match any contract offer the star running back receives on the open market, but it’s no surprise they’d rather avoid that altogether.

There had been reports that Pittsburgh could consider bringing Bell back if no other team is willing to blow him away with an offer, but the relationship between the two sides is damaged beyond repair. Bell’s situation was a huge distraction for the Steelers in 2018, so it makes more sense for them to simply move on from him.

While the Steelers are said to have made an effort to convince Bell to come back at one point, we need look no further than the fact that he sat out the entire 2018 season. Using another tag on him would only delay the inevitable.

Dolphins expected to move on from DeVante Parker

The Miami Dolphins have not gotten anything close to what they expected from DeVante Parker since they drafted him with the 14th overall pick in 2015, and the expectation is that the wide receiver has played his last snap with the team.

Parker is entering the final year of his rookie contract in 2019, and he is owed more than $9 million after the Dolphins previously picked up his fifth-year option. Adam Beasley of The Miami Herald wrote this week about some of the changes that could be coming to the Dolphins’ receiver group, and he described Parker as “all but gone.”

Many have been expecting a breakout season for Parker for the past two or three years, but the former Louisville star has never morphed into the No. 1 receiver the Dolphins hoped he would be. He battled some injuries in 2018 and ended up with just 24 catches for 309 yards, and Parker’s agent raised some questions about whether former Miami coach Adam Gase was lying about the receiver’s health.

Though his time with the Dolphins has been a massive disappointment, Parker is just 26 and obviously has plenty of talent. If he becomes a free agent, there should be plenty of teams willing to give him a chance to prove himself with a fresh start.

Jaguars unlikely to give up draft pick for Nick Foles?

Nick Foles

The Jacksonville Jaguars have consistently been mentioned as the team most likely to land Nick Foles this offseason, but the avenue for making that happen may not be all that simple.

Foles has agreed to pay back $2 million to the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for voiding his $20 million option for 2019. However, the Eagles can still place the franchise tag on him before the deadline in two weeks, and they would go that route if they found a trade partner for the quarterback. While the Jaguars are interested in Foles, Tom Pelissero of NFL Network reports that they would be hesitant to give up a draft pick and sign him to a huge contract.

The Jags probably aren’t the only team that feels that way, so perhaps they believe they can just wait it out. One other team that was in need of a starting quarterback heading into 2019 has already found one, so the pool of potential suitors for Foles has dwindled.

There have been indications that Foles would sign with Jacksonville if he hits free agency, so the Jags could be factoring that in as well. Waiting may be their best option.

Report: Teams worried Antonio Brown will be a headache

Antonio Brown

The Pittsburgh Steelers are looking to trade Antonio Brown following a year filled with drama, and teams are reportedly concerned that the disagreements he had with his teammates and coaches could continue even with a fresh start.

Even after Brown met with Steelers owner Art Rooney II this week to clear the air and come to a mutual agreement that a trade is best for all parties, several front office executives told NFL Network’s Aditi Kinkhabwala that teams have plenty of concerns about acquiring the star receiver.

Brown and the Steelers going public with their meeting was almost certainly an attempt to help facilitate a trade. Showcasing how Brown put aside his differences and worked things out with the team could, in theory, reassure potential suitors that he is mature enough to not become a distraction wherever he winds up.

Still, the way Brown has criticized the Steelers and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger on social media recently has reportedly scared off at least one team. He also supposedly made a habit of showing up late to meetings last season and went AWOL heading into Week 17, so that’s another concern. Plus, Brown has been involved in some disturbing off-field incidents over the past year.

There’s no denying the impact Brown makes on the field, and that will likely be enough to convince some team to take a chance on him. However, the concerns over his personality appear to have limited the pool of suitors.

Steelers ‘cleared the air’ with Antonio Brown, agree trade is best

The Pittsburgh Steelers have agreed to part ways with Antonio Brown this offseason, but they are making an effort to do so on good terms.

On Tuesday, Brown tweeted a photo of himself with his arm around Steelers owner Art Rooney II. The star receiver said he “cleared the air on several issues” with Rooney and the two sides agreed that it is time to move on from one another.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert and another team executive were also part of the meeting, and everyone agreed a trade is the best outcome.

While the Steelers are going to work toward trading Brown, Pro Football talk reports that they have not given him and his agent Drew Rosenhaus permission to speak with teams.

Brown has been working hard to force his way out of Pittsburgh, and his approach has reportedly scared off at least one team. Now that he has met with the Steelers’ brass to smooth things over, perhaps the criticism of Ben Roethlisberger and the organization will stop.

Mark Ingram hints he may not be back with Saints in 2019

Mark Ingram is set to become a free agent next month if he does not agree to a contract extension with the New Orleans Saints before that, and this may be the running back’s last chance to cash in on a big deal. Not surprisingly, he seems to realize that might mean playing for a new team.

During an appearance on “The Rich Eisen Show” last week, Ingram said he feels like he is “better than ever” heading into his ninth NFL season. He also said his goal now is to win a Super Bowl, but he understands that the Saints may not be willing to pay him the most money.

“It’s kind of like a thing where they say they want me back, I say, ‘I want to be back,’ it’s just can we compromise on the value?” Ingram said, as transcribed by Mark Inabinett of The Times-Picayune. “Like I said, I’ve been there my entire career. It’s very rare that someone gets to spend their career in one place, and that would be something that would be significant. But at the same time, I’m not afraid to bet on myself. I believe in my opportunity.”

While Ingram emphasized that he and his family have been very happy in New Orleans, he knows he’s going to have to continue to split time with Alvin Kamara if he re-signs. He said he would like an opportunity to be a “feature guy” and feels sharing carries has kept him fresher than the averaged 29-year-old back.

“(Todd) Gurley’s played four years, and I think I only have 200 more carries than him. Le’Veon Bell’s played six years, I only have 90 more carries than him, and he missed this whole year,” Ingram said. “So he’d probably have more than me. So my age — I am 29 — but at the same time I feel like the wear and tear I’ve had on my body is minimal, and I feel like my best years — I’ve still got four more years, at least, of playing elite football for somebody.”

Ingram rushed for just 645 yards in 2018, but he was suspended for the first four games of the season for performance-enhancing drug use. He’s been relatively healthy throughout his career, so it would not be a surprise if a team spent big on him this offseason.