Wide receiver Antonio Brown confirmed a 5-year deal extension with the Steelers. The agreement is worth $42.5 million, a league source related.
Brown, voted Pittsburgh’s most valuable player by colleagues last season, was entering the last season of the 3-year agreement he signed when he was drafted out of Central Michigan in 2010. He would have been fit for restricted free agency after this season.
Brown made the Pro Bowl last season after becoming the 1st player in NFL history with at least 1,000 receiving yards and at least 1,000 return yards (1,062). He finished 2nd on the team to Mike Wallace with 69 receptions for 1,108 yards.
“He has played a big part in our success over the last 2 years,” Steelers GM Kevin Colbert expounded, “and we are excited he’s going to be a Steeler for a number of years to come.”
Steelers Nation had been eagerly forecasting a long term extension for one of its young receivers, but it was anticipated to have been Wallace. The late-day announcement of Brown’s deal came as a surprise Friday, less than 2 hours after the Steelers wrapped up their 2nd day of practice.
A restricted free agent unhappy with the $2.7 million tender the team extended for this season, Wallace did not report to St. Vincent University with the rest of his colleagues on Wednesday.
Talks between the team and Wallace have broken off, and the Steelers don’t plan to talk contract until the WR reports to camp, an expounded.
“I’m looking forward for him to be here, get all hands on deck,” Brown said, “and gets everybody moving in the right direction so we will start on what we will start on.”
Brown claimed he speaks with Wallace regularly, but that he hasn’t been pressuring him to report and join his squad.
Brown’s contract could affect Wallace’s capability to cash in. The Steelers are up against the salary cap and — with the single exception of Hines Ward — have been traditionally averse to giving big deals to wide receivers. Two years back, when Brown and Emmanuel Sanders were rokies, Wallace dubbed the threesome the “Young Money Crew.”
Brown beat Wallace in the race to cash. NFL scores
The 1st time Brown touched the ball in an NFL regular season game; he returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown at Tennessee on Sept. 19, 2010. He only dressed for 9 regular season games as a rookie, catching 16 passes. The kickoff return was his lone touchdown, while Wallace enjoyed a breakout campaign of 1,257 yards and 10 touchdowns.
But Brown began to appear in the playoffs, catching 3 passes for 75 yards in a divisional round win over Baltimore. His 58-yard reception in the final 2 minutes – one he secured by holding the ball up against his helmet – set up the winning touchdown.
Brown entered last season as Pittsburgh’s No. 4 receiver but became QB Ben Roethlisberger’s go-to guy over the 2nd half. Brown had 51 catches for 846 yards over the final 10 games of the season.