Some of Antonio Brown’s antics are impossible


to defend.Livestreaming from the locker room after a playoff win. Disappearing for two days right before the crucial season finale of 2018. Showing no respect for the coach who spent so much time defending his eccentricities.But demanding a new contract?That’s just a smart business move.In a league that still balks at fully guaranteeing a player’s financial security Rocky Bleier Jersey , Brown rightfully seized on his ugly breakup from the Pittsburgh Steelers to land a lucrative new deal from the Oakland Raiders.For a star player, these are the best moments to secure their financial future.If not, they could wind up like Justin Houston.The four-time Pro Bowler was due to make $15.25 million this season. Kansas City decided that was too much. When no one was willing to trade for Houston and his big contract, the Chiefs handed him a pink slip.No one derided Kansas City for a lack of loyalty to one of the best pass rushers in club history, a guy who’s averaged nearly 10 sacks a season over his eight-year career.Houston recently turned 30 years old, his production tailed off the past few seasons, and the Chiefs needed to free up cap money that can be used to make other much-needed upgrades to their defense.Sorry, Justin. It’s just business.But Brown’s trade to Oakland, which will be completed when the free-agency period officially begins Wednesday, was roundly excoriated by those who had cheered him for the last nine seasons in Pittsburgh.At least one Steelers fan had already burned his No. 84 jersey in the fireplace when it became clear a month ago that Brown didn’t want to play for the team anymore. (Wouldn’t it have made more sense to donate the black-and-gold garment to charity?)Plenty of others grumbled at Brown’s tactics, saying he didn’t deserve to land a three-year, $50.125 million contract from the Raiders — a raise of more than $11 million over what he was set to make with the Steelers — after bailing on the city where an obscure, sixth-round pick transformed into one of the game’s most dominating receivers.Local radio personality Mark Madden tweeted: “If anyone thinks it was OK for AB to skip out on Wk 17 & ditch his teammates when the Steelers were still in the playoff race to grease his exit & sharpen his pursuit of more $, that’s sad. But we’re in an era where many athletes care a lot about money & not at all about winning.”Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette added, “Do not blame Steelers for getting ONLY a third- and fifth-round pick for Antonio Brown. Blame Antonio Brown. He created a skeptical and reluctant trade market with his insubordination, narcissistic behavior and money threats.”Again, it’s hard to argue with those who say Brown didn’t handle this messy situation the right way Joe Gilliam Jersey , but none of us knows exactly what went on behind the scenes. There were clearly issues between Brown and Ben Roethlisberger, perhaps going all the way back to the quarterback’s handling of a botched national anthem demonstration in 2017.But, whatever we think of AB, there are bigger issues at play here.Owners across the league are surely sweating a bit after watching Brown score a clear-cut victory over one of their brethren in a system that has always been tilted greatly against the players.Brown got just what he wanted: a new contract and a new team. The Steelers, on the other hand, were forced to accept pennies on the dollar for one the league’s best players. Making matters worse, they’ll take a massive cap hit for someone who is catching passes for another team next season.Randy Moss believes other stars can take a page from Brown’s disgruntled playbook to get what they want.But the Hall of Famer also noted that most players are still largely at the mercy of the owners.“If you are an elite player in the NFL, then I think yes, this is the approach you can take out of Antonio Brown’s book,” Moss told ESPN. “If you’re a guy just waiting to get a little contract, just to remain on the team, don’t take Antonio Brown’s approach because you’ll find yourself at home. This approach is not for everyone.”No one really knows what it all means for the upcoming labor talks, which figure to be highly contentious.In a perfect world, this would help to drive the two sides together to reach an agreement on guaranteed contracts.For the owners, it would remove the incentive and justification for stars to cause an AB-sized ruckus. For the players, there should be a willingness to take a bit of hit on the top end of the salary scale as long as the entire membership benefits from greater financial security.Wouldn’t that be something?Brown’s ugly departure from the Steel City helps broker a labor deal that makes everyone happy. Canaries were brought into coal mines by miners as an early warning for impending danger due to toxic gasses. When the birds would get sick or die, miners knew they were in danger. Running back Le’Veon Bell was the Pittsburgh Steelers’ canary. The three-time Pro Bowler was first franchise tagged in 2017 Terry Bradshaw Jersey , and again in 2018. Shockingly, instead of playing in his sixth season, he opted to sit out 2018 rather than take a 20% pay increase. Was he right, was he wrong? The answer to that doesn’t matter. What matters: Who is next, when does it happen again, and what will the outcome be? Whether you want to hear it or not, a dust up over a Pittsburgh contract structure will happen again. The NFL is headed toward giving out more guaranteed years and more guaranteed money. This flies in the face of how the Steelers do business. The dispute, by many accounts, was over guaranteed money and guaranteed years in the contract. Pittsburgh and the Green Bay Packers are the only NFL organizations that do not guarantee more than one season for players who are not rookies or quarterbacks. Fear is the driving force. These two organizations fear they will be on the hook for paying a player’s contract when that player cannot fulfill the contract because of injury, or because of degradation of skill, or because the player is such a disruptive force that the organization decided to move on.The issue is the other 30 NFL franchises give players contracts that have future years guaranteed for skill or injury or both. In 2018, Minnesota Vikings handed quarterback Kirk Cousins a fully guaranteed three-year contract worth $84 million that sent shock waves through the NFL. While that is an eye-popping sum, guaranteeing large portions of contracts is the norm for superstar players (or quarterback-desperate teams), regardless of the position they play.Another prime example is Khalil Mack. Before the 2018 season, the Oakland Raiders traded Mack to the Chicago Bears. Chicago gave Mack a six-year extension worth $141 million with $60 million guaranteed at signing and $90 million in total guarantees. The massive contract included the first two years fully guaranteed and the third year guaranteed for injury. The contract set the bar for the outside linebacker position — and for future NFL stars at other positions. Mack’s contract structure is not an aberration. Cornerback and wide receiver are two other highly sought positions, not only in the NFL but for Steelers fans. These three positions had the highest exclusive rights franchise tag value in 2018 outside of quarterbacks. Out of the top five highest-paid players at each of the three positions in 2019, only Steelers wideout Antonio Brown did not have more than one guaranteed year in the initial contracts.While the Steelers do not have an up-and-coming superstar at cornerback Louis Lipps Jersey