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.
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.
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.
As expected, Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell isn’t leaving Pittsburgh anytime soon.
On Monday, CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora reported that Bell became the third player to be franchise tagged ahead of Wednesday’s deadline. Shortly after, the team confirmed the move. According to La Canfora, the Steelers used the exclusive tag on Bell, which means there isn’t even a slim chance that Bell will be playing for a different team next season.
Like the Cardinals’ decision to tag Chandler Jones and the Panthers’ move to tag Kawann Short, the Steelers’ tagging of Bell was expected. In fact, their intention to franchise tag him was reported as far back as mid December. They also sound like they want to keep him around after 2017.
That also makes sense, given Bell might be the game’s best running back.
Both sides have until July 15 to reach a long-term contract agreement. If they’re unable to do so and if Bell signs his tender, he’s projected to earn somewhere around $12 million for the 2017 season. Earlier this month, CBS Sports’ Joel Corry, a former agent, took a look at why playing under the tag might not be the worst outcome for Bell.