An already shaky start to the season got even worse for the Pittsburgh Steelers following their 42-37 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs last Sunday. Already shorthanded by the continued holdout of star running back Le’Veon Bell, the Steelers were rocked by further controversy following a cryptic tweet by receiver Antonio Brown, suggesting he would be open to a trade.
Brown followed up his mysterious social media message by failing to report for practice on Monday. That has stoked speculation on the six-time Pro Bowl receiver’s future in Pittsburgh, with the odds on Antonio Brown being traded before November 14 now pegged at +900.
Selected 195th overall in the 2010 NFL Draft, Brown showed steady progress in his first five years as a pro, leading the NFL in pass receptions in 2014 and 2015. The 30-year-old took a step back in 2016, but rebounded last season, racking up 1,533 receiving yards to lead the NFL for the second time in his career.
The off-field distraction could not come at a worse time for the Steelers. With no end in sight to Bell’s absence, as he holds out for a contract extension, Pittsburgh has gotten the new campaign off to a rocky start.
The Steelers let a 14-point, fourth-quarter lead over the long-suffering Cleveland Browns slip away in Week 1, settling for a 21-21 tie as 3.5-point road chalk. And with last weekend’s loss to the high-flying Chiefs as 4-point home favorites, Pittsburgh has tumbled from +1100 to +1600 on the Super Bowl odds.
Brown Heavily Favored to Remain With Steelers
After taking steps during the offseason to restructure his contract in an effort to free up much needed cap space for the Steelers, Brown leaving the Steel City remains unlikely. Brown is under contract with Pittsburgh through 2021, and has reportedly issued a statement through his agent expressing his desire to remain with the Steelers.
Not surprisingly, the product of Central Michigan is pegged as a short -3500 bet to not be dealt on the Antonio Brown trade odds. That’s good news for Steelers fans anxious over who would provide the team’s offense in the absence of both Bell and Brown.
Pittsburgh is already feeling the effects of Bell’s extended holdout. The 25-year-old scampered for 1,291 yards to finish third in rushing last season. But without Bell in the lineup, the Steelers rank 20th in the NFL in team offense through the first two weeks of the season, mustering a meagre 96.0 yards per game.
The Steelers are also 7-2 straight up in the past nine games when Brown eclipses 100 yards. However, Brown tallied just 67 yards in the Steelers’ Week 2 loss, which was also marred by a verbal altercation involving the receiver and offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner.
Perhaps of greatest concern is how the ongoing controversies could impact the job security of Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin. The 46-year-old bench boss has enjoyed much success since taking over the team’s coaching reins in 2007. Tomlin has led Pittsburgh to eight winning seasons and one Super Bowl title, but could find himself on the unemployment line if he is unable to regain control of the team’s locker room.
*Odds as of September 19, 2018
Original source: http://www.bovadasportsbook.com/antonio-brown-trade-odds/