Being the 18th highest paid wide receiver in the NFL doesn’t sit right with Antonio Brown, but it seems that the Pittsburgh Steelers won’t give in to his demands of improving his contract, not until there’s only one year left on it.
The Steelers, like other teams in the NFL, don’t re-negotiate contracts with players until they enter the expiring season, unless they’re quarterbacks. Even someone like Brown, an All-Pro the last two years, with 5031 yards over the last three seasons including 1834 with a league high 136 receptions, also scoring 10 touchdowns, isn’t getting special treatment. Brown deals expires after the 2017 season, and he comes with a $12.3 million cap hit this year and $13.1 million in 2017.
Brown restructured his contract in 2014, converting base salary into bonus money: He made a $730,000 base salary while getting a $5.2 million signing bonus to help the Steelers out with their cap woes. He’ll have a base salary of $8.7 million in 2017, and $6.25 million in 2016, not including bonuses. This puts him at 18th among the NFL’s wide receivers, behind elite guys like A.J. Green, Julio Jones and Dez Bryant, but also earning less than Michael Crabtree and Pierre Garcon.
So what are the options for Brown? Holding out, of course, but he’s not planning on doing that. We saw Kam Chancellor do it last year on the Seattle Seahawks and it didn’t really do him any good. Brown and the Steelers haven’t been discussing contract details for quite some time, and it seems the matter is dead, even though Brown would love a new deal two years before the current one is up. It makes sense: He’s 28, putting up huge numbers. Who knows how long this last, and who knows how long he’ll have a healthy Ben Roethlisberger throwing to him.
The Steelers? From a business standpoint, they’re doing the right thing. As for keeping things cordial between them and their biggest playmaker on offense? That’s a different thing, but with Le’Veon Bell facing a four game suspension, maybe it’s not wise to keep Brown unhappy.