Brown, 30, is widely considered one of the finest receivers of the Super Bowl era but, after agitating for a move away from Pittsburgh, will be leaving the Steelers after nine successful years at Heinz Field.
Team owner Art Rooney II posed with Brown for a picture announcing the decision and that an understanding had been reached, but in that same meeting it was agreed that the Steelers, and only the Steelers, could negotiate the trade.
That means that if one of the other NFL teams won't come up with a fair offer then the all-pro speedster won't be going anywhere at all.
Brown's value is complex because players of his age with hefty salaries traditionally wouldn't fetch much by way of compensation, but his historic production levels as a likely hall-of-famer mean that he will instantly improve any team he goes to by providing an elite receiving option.
The 30-year-old is approaching the twilight of his career but could as easily play until 40 like Jerry Rice as retire in just a couple of seasons. These unknowns make it difficult to establish a value for Brown, something Colbert touched on in summarising the meeting between the wantaway star and the Pittsburgh top brass.
“Really, the summation of (the meeting) was that we’re all disappointed that we’re at this point.
"How things transpired – we’re all disappointed. Antonio is disappointed. We’re disappointed. As to what contributed to the disappointment, I’ll leave that between us on our side and his side. Respectively, we did agree to look into a trade (as) the best course of action for both sides. And when I say that, what was put out yesterday was partially true. The point we made to Antonio was that we love you as a player and we thank you for what you’ve done for us over the past nine years. We’re disappointed we didn’t get you a Super Bowl, and I still think you’re a Hall of Fame candidate, and I’m disappointed that may not happen with us.”
“But the other point we made (to Antonio) was that (while) we’re open to shopping around the league to see what may be available in exchange for your services, by no means are we going to make a trade or any type of move that will not be beneficial to the Pittsburgh Steelers organization. Specifically, we will not be discounting you on the trade market, and we certainly will not be releasing you. All that being said, we’ll take a positive approach. If someone has a sincere interest and they want to make a move – either a significant draft pick, or a set of picks, or a significant player plus picks – and we think it will benefit the Pittsburgh Steelers in the long run, then we’re all in. If not, then we’ll make that decision at that point.”
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies