Antonio Brown is one of the biggest offensive weapons on the Pittsburgh Steelers, hands down. Actually, he is arguably one of the league’s best receivers in the game today. Now the good news for Steelers’ fans is that he is going to remain in the Steel City for a long time to come.
CBS Sports indicates that the Steelers signed Brown to a new five-year contract, which will keep him in Pittsburgh through the 2021 season and make him the highest paid wide receiver in the game today. While the Steelers still have Brown under contact for the 2017 season, they have given him a new deal that will extend through the 2021 season. So for all intents and purposes, the new contract is a four-year plus-one deal. Either way, you slice it, Brown looks to be a Pittsburgh Steeler for life.
Brown is now officially the NFL’s highest paid receiver, passing Cincinnati’s A.J. Green by nearly $2 million per season. Brown’s new deal will put his yearly paycheck at $17 million per season. That’s not chump change!
This move clearly had to be made by the Steelers, who definitely have the talent to compete for the AFC crown next season. So, is Brown worth that kind of investment? By today’s standards, absolutely!
The former Central Michigan University product caught 106 passes for 1,284 yards, and 12 touchdowns in 2016 and since the Steelers selected Brown in the sixth round of the 2010 NFL draft (yes, like Tom Brady Brown went that low in the draft) Brown has accumulated the second most receiving yards during that span. The only wideout to have more yards during the same period is Calvin Johnson.
If Brown can keep up this pace, he could go down as the all-time leading receiver in Pittsburgh Steelers history, and that is saying a lot considering some of the greatest wideouts in NFL history donned the Black and Gold jersey.
Now, on to another wide receiver, Chicago Bears’ Alshon Jeffery.
Pro Football Weekly reports that the Chicago Bears will not use the franchise tag on wide receiver Alshon Jeffery, which will likely send the wide receiver to the free-agent market on March 9.
The Bears thought it would be too much to franchise tag Jeffery for the second straight season. In fact, if they had applied the tag on Jeffery for the second year in a row, Chicago would have to cough up approximately $17.5 million on Jeffery in 2017. The only way they could avoid that big number is if the two sides would agree to a long-term contract before the 2017-18 season concludes.
Just because the Bears aren’t going to apply the franchise tag to Jeffery before the March 1 deadline, Chicago could still re-sign their No. 1 wideout to a new deal. However, that won’t be as easy as it sounds. Jeffery is sure to get a nice offer from several teams who need either a new No. 1 or strong No. 2 receiver, and he will most likely get a lot more money from a new team as well.
Bears General Manager Ryan Pace recently said the two sides had not been in active contract discussions.
“He’s an extremely talented player that has high expectations for himself,” Pace said.
“I don’t feel like this season he really got into a rhythm that he would have liked to have gotten into. I think that was because of a lot of different quarterback play. And also he missed four games. It’s hard for him to get in a rhythm and showcase what he can do.… I think Alshon expects more. I think he’s a good player. And that’s a big decision for us.”
Jeffery is only 27, so he still has several good years ahead of him on the gridiron. While he was suspended for four games in 2016 for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances, Jeffery still managed to put up good numbers in 12 games. He hauled in 52 passes for 821 yards and two touchdowns last season.
Jeffery has 4,549 total receiving yards so far in his career, which puts him third all-time in Chicago Bears history. Those numbers alone are making Bears fans to hope that somehow, someway, Jeffery will end up back in the Windy City in 2017.
[Featured Image by Rob Carr/Getty Images]