The Steelers have made Antonio Brown one of NFL's highest-paid receivers

Shutdown Corner

The Pittsburgh Steelers had a busy and productive Monday with free agency fast approaching.

First, they placed the exclusive franchise tag on running back Le’Veon Bell, meaning he’s not going anywhere this season. Then came this on wide receiver Antonio Brown from ESPN’s Adam Schefter:

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Brown’s average per year of $17 million is tops in the NFL — of the extension portion of the deal — is well ahead of Cincinnati Bengals receiver A.J. Green ($15M), but we won’t know the entire picture until the guaranteed money is verified. If you add his 2017 contract, Brown is slated to make $72.7 million over the next five years, which would come in just short of Green’s per-year average but ahead of Julio Jones at $14.25 million per year.

The most guaranteed money previously given to a current wide receiver at the signing is Jones at $35.5 million total. Retired receiver Calvin Johnson signed for a record $60 million guaranteed.

The Pittsburgh Steelers have rewarded Antonio Brown with a massive extension. (AP)
The Pittsburgh Steelers have rewarded Antonio Brown with a massive extension. (AP)

The team officially confirmed the news of a five-year deal (adding four years to his current contract, which was set to run out after the 2017 season) for Brown, one that could make him a Steeler for life.

There was never a question about his desire or talent after yet another big season. But some questions about his selfishness and also a Facebook Live video after the Steelers’ playoff victory over the Kansas City Chiefs cast a little doubt about Brown’s place with the team. Head coach Mike Tomlin even alluded to that uncertainty following the locker-room video incident.

But Brown’s talent and work ethic were too good not to reward, it appears. He now has accumulated 632 receptions, 8,377 yards and 50 receiving touchdowns in his seven NFL seasons and was an All Pro in 2016. With Brown and Bell locked down and — we assume — Ben Roethlisberger returning in 2017, the Steelers should be Super Bowl contenders.

“Antonio is a good guy, a good person,” Steelers president Art Rooney II said following the season. “I enjoy our personal relationship. His teammates like to have him on the team. He is a hard worker.

“AB is a big contributor to our success, has been for several years now, and I think he’s capable of continuing to be that kind of player. I think he’s someone who wants to be a great player and works hard to be that. Hopefully, he’ll continue to evolve as a player and as a person.”

Brown’s new contract reflects that praise commensurately. One of his favorite sayings is “business is booming,” one that he even has done up in a T-shirt. Today, that shirt is now made up in Steelers gold lamé.

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Eric Edholm is a writer for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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