When a player becomes and elite talent, that player should be paid as such. Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown is an elite talent that deserves to be paid.
“If a guy over performs, you take care of him.” – Antonio Brown, Steelers Wideout
Mr. Brown is right on the money, no pun intended. Over performing is exactly what Brown has done since being drafted in the sixth round (195th overall) back in 2010. In his six years of NFL service, Brown has hauled in 526 passes for 7,093 yards and 38 touchdowns. Just two of his six NFL seasons was he held under 1,000 receiving yards.
The first year was his rookie year, where he caught 16 passes for 167 yards and no touchdowns in nine games. In 2012, Brown had 66 receptions for 787 yards and five touchdowns while missing three games.
In 2015, Brown and Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones led the NFL in receptions with 136 apiece. Jones narrowly edged out Brown for most receiving yards as he had 1,871 to Brown’s 1,834. Brown was also without his elite quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger for four games. Imagine what he could have done had Big Ben not been injured. That’s a scary thought.
Not only is he a very good wide receiver, he can also make plays on punt returns. He has 1,558 punt return yards and four touchdowns in his six NFL seasons.
The footwork of Brown is what makes him such a special playmaker. He has the ability to make guys miss and turn a busted play into a highlight reel touchdown. The duo of Brown and Roethlisberger is among the best in all of football, if not the very best.
In 2016, Brown will be owed $6.25 million in the fifth of his six-year, $43 million deal. He will be the 13th highest paid wide receiver this upcoming season, something that just doesn’t seem right. A player who led the NFL in receptions and was second in receiving yards deserves to be making some major money.
The Steelers front office is well known for not negotiating long-term deals with non-quarterbacks. Brown is more than deserving of being the exception to that rule. Pittsburgh general manager Kevin Colbert was a gust on Steeler Nation Radio and said that AB is a “great player” who understands the team’s business approach.
The two sides could do another restructure of Brown’s current contact, something they did a couple season ago to boost his 2015 earnings, even if slightly. While a restructure is possible, something that is not possible is Brown holding out until a deal is reached. He said “the first part about getting better is showing up.” That shows a lot of class on Brown’s part, as there are many scenarios where players don’t report to training camp until a new deal is reached.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are one of the most respected franchises is all of sports, which has led to a ton of success including six Super Bowls. Antonio Brown is one of the most lethal weapons in the game today and deserves to be paid as such, despite what the business model of the Steelers is.
At the end of the day, the two sides will come to an agreement on a long-term deal and both will handle the contract talks with class. This shouldn’t be a distraction for Brown and the Steelers this season as they embark on another quest to hoist the Lombardi Trophy for a seventh time. If anything, this will only fuel Brown more to show the organization that he is beyond worthy of making a boatload of money, something the rest of the league should be very fearful of.