Freedman: Will Le’Veon Bell & Antonio Brown Be on the Same Team in 2019?

Freedman: Will Le’Veon Bell & Antonio Brown Be on the Same Team in 2019? article feature image
Credit:

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown (84), running back Le’Veon Bell (26).

  • Running back Le'Veon Bell & wide receiver Antonio Brown have been Steelers teammates since 2013.
  • Both players are expected to play for a different team in 2019.
  • Matthew Freedman looks at the odds for whether they will be teammates this upcoming season.

Each day, I publish at least one quick-n’-dirty piece highlighting a favorite prop of mine. See my master list of 2019 prop bets for more information.

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2019 Year-to-Date Prop Record

127-105-9, +23.71 Units

  • NFL: 21-13-0, +11.72 Units
  • NBA: 50-35-2, +9.52 Units
  • NHL: 45-49-6, +0.78 Units
  • Golf: 3-4-1, -0.50 Units
  • NASCAR: 3-2-0. +1.55 Units
  • NCAAF: 0-1-0. -1.00 Units
  • NCAAB: 0-1-0. -1.00 Units
  • Exotics: 5-0-0. +2.64 Units

Will Le’Veon Bell & Antonio Brown Be on the Same Team in Week 1 of 2019?

  • Yes: +500
  • No: -1000

Since 2013, running back Le’Veon Bell and wide receiver Antonio Brown have been Pittsburgh Steelers teammates, but both players seem highly unlikely to be with the organization this upcoming season.

After sitting out 2018 because of a contract dispute with the team, Bell is an unrestricted free agent reportedly looking for $48 million over the next three years.

Brown is still under contract, but in his head he’s already gone.

Thank you SteelerNation for a big 9 years…time to move on and forward……….✌🏽 #NewDemands pic.twitter.com/fbIoFNdqK4

— Antonio Brown (@AB84) February 12, 2019

Brown and agent Drew Rosenhaus recently had a meeting with Steelers owner Art Rooney II, general manager Kevin Colbert and vice president Omar Kahn. Reportedly, they all agreed that a trade would be best.

So here’s the question: Will Bell and Brown somehow end up on the same team in 2019?

I really doubt it.

Antonio Brown Might Actually Stay With the Steelers

To start with, there’s a 0% chance Bell will re-sign with the Steelers, but Brown might very well end up back with the team in 2019.

Colbert has said that the team won’t trade Brown unless the deal benefits the Steelers. This is probably just GM talk, but there’s a real chance the Steelers won’t hear any offers they actually like.

Plus, Brown is due a $2.5 million roster bonus on March 17, so the time frame to get a deal done is fairly short.

And the trade market for Brown might be smaller than expected: His play fell off last season, the Steelers deactivated him in a must-win Week 17 game for insubordination and he has behaved erratically on social media and in public since the season ended.

The Steelers reportedly won’t consider trading Brown to the Patriots or to any team in the AFC North, and the Colts aren’t expected to pursue Brown even though they have the salary cap space. They might want to avoid trading him to any team in the AFC altogether, just so they won’t have to risk facing him in the playoffs.

I think there’s an under-appreciated chance that when Week 1 starts, Brown is still with the Steelers.

Will Any Team Be Able to Afford or Want Both Bell & Brown?

Three teams have reportedly already reached out to the Steelers about Brown, so he’s definitely likely to be traded, but the pool of teams with a real chance of acquiring him is relatively small.

On top of that, for both Bell and Brown to end up on the same team, a franchise has to be able and willing to commit at least $30 million (and almost certainly more) per year to the two of them for the next few seasons.

Few teams have that type of financial flexibility. Of those that do, fewer have needs at both running back and wide receiver. And of the teams with the necessary cap space, there might not be any organization inclined to pay up for two players with reputations as malcontents.

With -1000 odds, there’s a 90.9% implied probability that Bell and Brown won’t be on the same team next year. I think the true odds are at least 95% and maybe as high as 98%.

I bet “No” at -1000 and would bet it down to -1500.

The Pick: No (-1000)


Matthew Freedman is the Editor-in-Chief of FantasyLabs. He has a dog and sometimes a British accent. In Cedar Rapids, Iowa, he’s known only as The Labyrinthian.

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