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The coming season was supposed to be the one in which Antonio Brown took ownership of the Steelers' receiving record book, surpassing HinesWard in career yardage and touchdowns while continuing to forge a Jerry Rice-like path to all-time greatness. Instead, Brown's 185-yard, two touchdown tour de force Dec. 23 in New Orleans might go down as his last act in black and gold.
Regardless of whether the Steelers try to overcome the miles of scorched earth created between the franchise and the legend-in-the-making, or whether they try to trade him for future picks and/or players, there's one fundamental question that every NFL front office must answer: Just what can we expect from AB over the next few years?
In this case, I don't mean in the sense of Will he show up for work? or What's he going to tweet next? (although both are fair questions at this point), but in the sense of just how well we can expect Brown to play. Through his age-30 season, Brown has has performed like an inner-circle Hall of Famer. But he's at an age where it's not uncommon for receivers to show signs of decline.
During the next three years that he's under contract, should we expect AB to remain a perennial Pro Bowler, or should we expect him to start to fade?