First call: Larry Fitzgerald critical of Antonio Brown; Metropolitan Division madness |
Breakfast With Benz

First call: Larry Fitzgerald critical of Antonio Brown; Metropolitan Division madness

Tim Benz
Larry Fitzgerald (right) says Antonio Brown (left) is not doing himself any favors when it comes to how he is handling his relationship with the Steelers.

In “First Call” for Monday, Antonio Brown and the Steelers are haggling again. Larry Fitzgerald has some advice for Brown. The Capitals win a hockey game in a really strange way.

It’s on

The Steelers are digging their heels in. And so is Antonio Brown. Expect it to be like this until a trade is finally consummated.

Brown is due a $2.5 million signing bonus March 17. He doesn’t get it all at once. It’s prorated over his 17 paychecks. But the Steelers get charged all $2.5 million against the salary cap immediately.

So they have asked him to delay payment until he gets traded. According to, Brown has refused.

That could wind up backfiring on Brown in two respects. First of all, keeping the payment on the table could be seen as part of the compensation package for a team attempting to acquire him. Thus making it easier for the acquiring team to say something to the effect of: “Sure, we’ll take A.B. along with the $2.5 million. But you are only getting a third-round pick instead of a second-rounder.”

Also, if the Steelers can’t swing a trade, that weekly payment of $147,058.82 can be withheld any week he decides to hold out, or he continues to do things that are deemed to be “conduct detrimental” to the club.

Larry Fitz’s advice

Whether it is this tactic or others from Brown, former Pitt star Larry Fitzgerald doesn’t approve.

Via, the Cardinals legend cautioned Brown that he may miss playing with a good quarterback when he gets traded away from Ben Roethlisberger.

“I love AB. Mr. Big Chest is a good friend of mine, but I don’t think he’s going about it the right way, personally,” ESPN picked up from Fitzgerald Saturday while he was speaking at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference. “To be able to play with an all-time quarterback like he’s able to play with, I don’t think he understands how good he has it. It can get tough out there.”

Fitzgerald knows what it is like to be on the other side of the tracks. He’s already had 19 different quarterbacks during his time in Arizona, and some of them have been lousy. Despite that, Larry Fitz is good enough to be the league’s active leader in receiving yards (16,279) and touchdowns (116).

Foles heading to the AFC

On the topic of quarterbacks, Nick Foles is on the move.

The former Super Bowl winner from Philadelphia is likely heading to the Jaguars, according to

Jacksonville is looking to improve on their quarterback play which saw Blake Bortles under center last year.

The Eagles declined the franchise tag option on Foles. So they will likely receive compensation in the third-round range.

That’s a weird way to win

Alex Ovechkin scored a goal for the Capitals last night during a shootout.

And he didn’t even put the puck in the net.

During a shootout attempt, Rangers goalie Alexandar Georgiev threw his stick at the puck as Ovechkin was on his approach. That’s illegal, and it counts as an automatic goal.

The officials made that determination upon review, despite initially saying “no goal.”

Washington won the game 3-2 as a result of the shootout. They now lead the Metropolitan Division with 83 points.

Elsewhere in the Metro

The Capitals gained exclusive control of the Metro — for now — because the Islanders lost, too. They fell at home to the Flyers 4-1 and dropped into second place.

The Blue Jackets failed to gain ground on the Penguins because they lost at home to Winnipeg.

Blake Wheeler scored four times for the Jets.

The Pens and Canadiens occupy the two wild-card spots at this point, with 77 points apiece. Columbus is in ninth place with 75. The Hurricanes occupy the last automatic qualifying slot in the Metro with 78.

Tim Benz is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tim at [email protected] or via Twitter. All tweets could be reposted. All emails are subject to publication unless specified otherwise.

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