The Steelers got their wish: The team and wide receiver Antonio Brown agreed to a new contract that will make Brown the highest-paid receiver in the league.
Brown’s contract is for five years and $72.7 million, which includes a $19 million signing bonus. That puts Brown’s average annual value at a little more than $14.5 million.
Shortly after the news broke, Brown tweeted a photo of himself with agent Drew Rosenhaus indicating that the deal was signed.
— Antonio Brown (@AntonioBrown) February 27, 2017
Brown, a perennial All-Pro, had one year remaining on a five-year, $42 million contract. General manager Kevin Colbert said on Feb. 16 that ensuring that Brown remained “a Steeler for life” was the team’s top offseason priority — a clear sign that the Facebook Live drama hadn’t fundamentally changed their plans.
The first year of Brown’s new deal replaces the final year of his previous one, meaning that he’s under contract through the 2021 season.
Brown, 28, has averaged 1,575 receiving yards and 120 catches in each of the last four seasons. He’s been productive enough to have his 1,284 yards and 10 receptions in 2016, his seventh NFL season, represent a backwards step.
He made the Pro Bowl in 2011 and from 2013-2016, and was named a first team All-Pro in each of the last three seasons. Brown is second in Steelers’ history in career receptions (632) and third in receiving yards (8,377).
A sixth-round pick in 2010 out of Central Michigan, Brown has managed to parlay his on-field success into off-the-field fame; he’s (obviously) active and popular via several different social media channels and competed in “Dancing With The Stars” after the 2015 season.
Earlier on Monday, the team designated running back Le’Veon Bell its exclusive franchise player, guaranteeing that he’d play the 2017 season in Pittsburgh. Bell could’ve become an unrestricted free agent on March 9. Now, Colbert and the front office can give them their full attention.