Antonio Brown is arguably the league’s best receiver. Now, he’s going to get paid like it.
On Monday, the Steelers signed Brown to a new five-year contract, which will keep him in Pittsburgh through the 2021 season. Browns’ contract was set to expire after the 2017 season, so this can also be viewed as a four-year extension. According to CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora, the deal is worth nearly $73 million.
So, Brown and his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, are understandly excited:
Brown is now the NFL’s highest-paid receiver. Bengals receiver A.J. Green led the league with $15 million per season, but Browns’ four-year extension means he’s getting $17 million in new money per season.
Antonio Brown's extension is 4 years, $68 million, source confirmed (as others said). $17M new money average soars past AJ Green's $15M avg.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) February 27, 2017
Clearly, he’s worth the investment. In 2016, Brown caught 106 passes for 1,284 yards, and 12 touchdowns. Since he entered the league in 2010 as a sixth-round pick (seriously), Brown has gone on to rack up the second most receiving yards (8,377) -- only Calvin Johnson, who retired a year ago, has more. He’s also caught 50 touchdowns in that span, which is the 10th highest total.
Sure, there was that entire Facebook video controversy in the playoffs, which resulted in Mike Tomlin saying something about how those things cause players to “move on” to other teams, but the reality is that the Steelers were never going to let Brown leave. He’s too damn dominant.
By making sure Brown remains in Pittsburgh for the long haul, the Steelers will likely remain contenders in the AFC for many more years to come. Earlier on Monday, the team franchise tagged Le’Veon Bell. So, the core of their explosive offense is staying in place. Keep in mind: The Steelers could be getting Martavis Bryant back, too.
Brown’s contract will impact more than just the Steelers, though. It’ll also reset the wide receiver market. A player like Alshon Jeffery, who is poised to hit the open market, will likely benefit from the absurd figures that were just handed to Brown, even though Jeffery isn’t anywhere close to Brown’s level.
So, to recap: Antonio Brown, star receivers around the league, and the Steelers all experienced a great day -- and it’s only Monday.