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The AFC North landscape changes as Antonio Brown requests trade from the Steelers

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NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at New Orleans Saints Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been quite a wild ride these past two days.

Yesterday, the Cleveland Browns went out and signed RB Kareem Hunt after being released by the Kansas City Chiefs back in late November.

This turned the Browns into quite a force in the running back department as they now have Nick Chubb, Duke Johnson Jr. and Hunt to pair with QB Baker Mayfield. If that wasn’t big enough news, Antonio Brown, the star of the soap opera, Days of our Steelers, has requested a trade from Pittsburgh.

This certainly changes the landscape of the division.

Last year, the Browns got rolling as they finally fired Hue Jackson and let Mayfield carve up his opponents through his impressive passing game. They were just shy of a winning season, which came down to a fourth quarter stop by the Baltimore Ravens defense. Had the Browns won, the Steelers would’ve come out on top in the AFC North and punched their ticket to the playoffs, rather than the Ravens.

Maybe, had the Browns won that game, none of this happens? Maybe the Los Angeles Chargers head into Pittsburgh and leave empty handed. Afterward, the Steelers go toe-to-toe with the New England Patriots. They did beat them in Week 16. Either way, they don’t miss the playoffs and Brown might not be compelled to request a trade due to winning the AFC North again.

Alas, none of this happened and now the Steel City franchise implodes before our eyes.

This shift in the division could be far greater than imagined. As of now, the Browns and Ravens look to lead the North. No, you can’t count out Pittsburgh, but they certainly don’t look as strong without Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown.