The mantle of highest paid receiver has changed hand ones again – this time going to Antonio Brown. The deal rewards Brown who had a decent year (106 catches, 1284 yards and 12 touchdowns) considering the Steelers were without an effective quarterback for times this year when Ben Roesthlisberger was injured.
So what are the terms of the deal? Adam Schefter reported that the deal, which is a 4-year extension, is worth $68 million. Over the course of the contract Brown will receive 17M per year, with $18.5M over the first three years. By signing the new deal Brown becomes tied to the Steelers through 2021.
The deal makes sense for both Brown and the Steelers. Brown gets a considerable pay rise and the Steelers lock up possibly the league’s best receiver for a few more years. Brown, who has been in the league 7 years, has already amassed 8,377 yards and 50 touchdowns.
The deal may not be the richest in the league for long. In fact it’s quite possible that a new mark is set when free agency begins. In the NFL, as with any free market, supply and demand sets the value. With 27 year old Alshon Jeffery poised to be a free agent when free agency begins on March 9th, teams in need of an offensive playmaker may decide that he’s worth similar money. Despite a less than perfect quarterbacking situation in Chicago, Jeffery has stacked up 4,549 yards and 26 touchdowns.
There are dangers with Jeffery though. He’s been bothered by nagging injuries and has also been suspended for taking performance enhancing drugs. He’s also been vocal about his situation this year, when he played under the franchise tag, worth $14.6 million in 2016.
That being said, Jeffrey will not be the only player affected by Brown’s deal. The list of receivers available in free agency may include the likes of DeSean Jackson, Kenny Stills, Pierre Garçon, Kenny Britt and emerging star Terrelle Pryor. Any receiver hitting the free market is going to look at Brown’s deal and way their worth accordingly. This may be part of the reason that Terrelle Pryor hasn’t been signed in Cleveland. For both the Steelers and the brown though, it’s a deal that makes sense.