TooAthletic Takes

The only non-playoff team with more drama than the Los Angeles Lakers during the last nine months might be the Pittsburgh Steelers.  With running back Le’Veon Bell sitting out the entire 2018 season in a contract dispute and wide receiver Antonio Brown going to social media and telling the haters to trade him if they didn’t think he was any good; last year was a season to remember, and forget all in one.  Now, with both Bell and Brown with new places, each player needs to show they were worth the price their team paid for them, and that they were not the distraction other thought they were with their old teams. 

Antonio Brown guaranteed himself $30 Million after being traded to the Oakland Raiders back in March that is $30 Million more than the Steelers were willing to give him, and why he wanted out of Pittsburgh so badly.  Brown’s offseason tirades on social media about his former team and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger drove down is trade value, leaving his old team to settle for a third and fifth round draft pick and a $21 Million dead money cap hit in 2019.  Happy with his new home, Antonio Brown is hoping to make his new quarterback, 28-year-old Derek Carr, as good as he believes he made #7 back in the Steel City.  No one minds a diva wide receiver if they are productive, and Raiders head coach Jon Gruden knows how to draw up an offense when he has talent on the field.  And sometimes there is nothing more powerful than a player with talent who is motivated by the social media haters; and this year Antonio Brown will be running on rocket fuel and I expect him and the Oakland Raiders to have a solid season.

Le’Veon Bell left a year’s salary on the table last year after refusing to play for the Steelers under the franchise tag.  When he signed is free agent contract with the New York Jets, he received $35 Million in guaranteed money, only $2 Million more than he was offers in Pittsburgh.  Bell has already heard the whispers that his new head coach with the New York Jets believes he is overpaid; but so far, the 27-year-old running back and keeping a good public persona and was working hard at minicamp last week under the watchful eye of head coach Adam Gase.  On the surface, it looks like Bell just wanted a year off and didn’t care about the money he left behind in Pittsburgh.  Whatever troubles he had with the Steelers are behind him, now Bell just needs to wonder what troubles he might have to deal with in the future consider Mike Maccagnan, the general manager that signed him is no longer with the Jets.  Expectations are lower with the Jets, a team who hasn’t made the playoffs since 2010, so assuming that Bell and Gase get along well and the running back gets the number of touches he wants; I think he will have a big year in Green and White.

Yes, both Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell, and yes, both players are in good positions to succeed in 2019 and should do just that.  The year of the former Pittsburgh Steelers is about to get underway.

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