It’s training camp for the Steelers and that means, yep you guessed, contract extensions! This is the time of year when the Steelers typically do the majority of their veteran contract work. Whether it’s a brand new deal or an extension for a player soon to enter free agency, from late July through the end of August you typically see several players get new deals.
Such is the case with Antonio Brown, who just got a new 5 yr. deal worth $42.5 million as reported by Adam Schefter via Twitter this evening: @AdamSchefter: Antonio Brown just signed a 5 year extension for $42.5mil with the Steelers. His original deal when drafted was for 3 yrs, $1.288 million.
The Steelers official twitter account and website also made the announcement but did not specify the contract amount:
“We are excited to announce that Antonio Brown will be with the team through at least the 2017 season,” Steelers General Manager Kevin Colbert said. “He has played a major role in our success over the past two years and we are thrilled he will be a Steeler for many years to come.”
Brown, who is in his third year in the NFL after being drafted in the sixth round of the 2010 NFL Draft, was named the team’s MVP following last year and earned his first trip to the Pro Bowl (as a kick returner). He finished second on the team with 69 receptions for 1,108 yards in 2011 and became the first player in NFL history with at least 1,000 receiving yards and at least 1,000 return yards (1,062).
For his career, Brown has 85 catches for 1,275 yards with two touchdowns, including a career-long 79-yarder versus Cleveland in Week 14 of 2011. (see our full stats below)
This comes at somewhat of a surprise because Brown isn’t scheduled to be a restricted free agent until after the 2012 season, a time when the team would normally work to get him a new deal. However there are some reasons to look into why this was done now. First, Brown had a stellar 2011 season where he became the first player ever to have over 1,000 receiving and return yds; his jersey is currently in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He’s an explosive player with good speed, quickness, a fearless attitude and that play maker ability that every offense loves to have. Plus he’s a team player, something his currently holding out counterpart is seemingly lacking in, but more on that in a moment.
Those reasons right there are enough to feel good about the Steelers securing him long term.
In addition though it saves them from having to worry about in the offseason next year when fellow draft classman Emmanuel Sanders will also be up for a new deal. Anytime you can lock up players before free agency even enters their mind, or the minds of potential suitors, you’re better off in the long run.
As far as Wallace goes, let’s not kid ourselves, the Steelers wanted to get Antonio Brown locked up before he had a chance to hit the market, whether it was now or before free agency next year. However the indirect affect is that now Mike Wallace is on the outside looking in, perhaps his new deal could have been done already had he showed up to camp. How is this going to affect the mindset of #17 as he continues to hold out for what he believes he’s earned in his 3 years in the league.
Clearly, and as we’ve been saying all along around here, Wallace should have taken the high road through all of this and just signed his 1 yr. deal and got himself to camp. When the front offices goes public and tells you that they want to get a long term deal done, they mean it.
Remember, Kevin Colbert said that the latest offer was now off the table, but the team wasted no time in spending it on an important part of their future. As reported by Mark Kaboly via Twitter: The Steelers offered Mike Wallace very similar deal to Antonio Brown’s deal. Brown accepted, Wallace was offended.
If Wallace balked at 42.5 million then we know, as if we didn’t before, that he’s looking for well over $50 million he was rumored to be offered and perhaps those rumors from San Francisco about the $120 million aren’t as far fetched as you once thought. The Steelers are never going to pay that amount to him, not earlier this year and certainly not now.
One wonders when Wallace might decide to actually show up. Does this news spur him to get into camp and perhaps try to see if the team will work on his contract before the season or instead does it have the opposite affect also reported by Mark Kaboly: If I am Mike Wallace, I dont show until week 10 now. No use. If he shows up now, does he feel it’s a sign of weakness; something that a person with a lot of pride certainly takes into consideration?
This is going to be very interesting now.
For what it’s worth, Wallace did tweet out this evening, “S/o to my bro @AntonioBrown84 very well deserved!!!”
I personally was wondering if he’d say anything at all but rather than stir the pot, he took that high road… Hint Hint.
Congrats to Antonio Brown on his new deal and too bad so sad for Wallace right now.
Here are Antonio Browns stats so far in his career: