According to Steelers general Kevin Colbert, Brown's return to Pittsburgh still remains a possibility.
Colbert told reporters, per The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Ed Bouchette, that while the Steelers do intend to trade Brown, as the receiver's reconciliatory photo with Steelers owner Art Rooney II from Tuesday stated plainly, Pittsburgh won't "give him away." Per Bouchette, Colbert said that "if the trade does not benefit the Steelers, they won't trade him."
The Steelers GM added Brown could return to the club if there is "no trade that does not benefit the team."
This is a major caveat to Pittsburgh's purported insistence that it will seek a trade for or move on from Brown. Of course a team would prefer beneficial compensation, but what does Pittsburgh view as beneficial compensation?
Just one day ago, Brown tweeted out that after finally meeting with Rooney, the two sides "agreed that it is time to move on." That statement seemed to confirm a trade was inevitable. But Brown and his team have no control over this situation. He's currently under contract in Pittsburgh and, as his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, said Tuesday on ESPN, Brown cannot negotiate his landing spot with potential suitors.
"I presently do not have permission to talk to teams or work on trade," Rosenhaus said. "That'll be something that the Steelers handle directly with teams and when a team calls me, that's when I'll do my job."
Colbert confirmed that while Brown will not dictate where he lands, there are teams to which Pittsburugh would prefer not to trade him.
Until then, Pittsburgh will look for compensation that benefits the team, whatever that entails.
When Brown was initially thought to be on the market in January, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Pittsburgh's asking price was believed to be a second-round pick. Now, after a month of speculation and drama, Brown will likely garner only a mid-round pick, NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported Wednesday.
So far, Colbert said, trade talks for Brown have not picked up yet, but when they do, the Steelers will play hard to get.
"We're not going to move a significant player for less than significant compensation," Colbert said.