Seven years ago, Antonio Brown was a little-known player from a small school hoping to make an impression at the NFL Combine. On Monday, after 632 receptions for 8,377 yards and 50 touchdowns, one of the leagueâs best wide receivers signed a shiny new deal worth nearly $73 million.
A few things: This is just the latest evidence that the draft is as much art as science. And while itâs a cliche, a draft guide canât measure a playerâs work ethic -- and Brown, according to everyone who comes into contact with him, wonât be outworked. As for the lack of âfunctional strength,â weâd point you to this Week 16 touchdown against the Ravens that helped the Steelers to the AFC North title.
To be fair: Brown was a late-round pick, and it had a lot to do with his decision to leave school a year early. But itâs hard to defend the rest of the scouting report since most of it has been disproven through Brownâs exploits on the field. And now heâs the leagueâs highest-paid pass-catcher, and rightly so.
Top Avg. Paid Multi-Year WR Contracts— Spotrac (@spotrac) February 27, 2017
Antonio Brown: $17M
Calvin Johnson: $16.2M
Larry Fitzgerald: $16.1M
AJ Green: $15M
Julio Jones: $14.2M
Why @AntonioBrown is worth it: 2014-2015 are 2 of the 10 best WR seasons since 1988 by DYAR. Ranked "only" 7th in 2016. Also, he's FUN.— Aaron Schatz ðð (@FO_ASchatz) February 27, 2017
Last, but most certainly not least: