The case for paying Antonio Brown
Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown is looking for a new contract extension. The team might be reluctant to do so, seeing as how there are still three years left on his deal. Holding off until his contract is closer to expiring would be a perfectly understandable strategy, as explained here.
But if you’re looking for reasons why the Steelers should dole out a contract for Brown in line with the five-year, $70 million extensions Dez Bryant and Demaryius Thomas received this offseason, we’ve got a few:
–Brown led all receivers with a +23.4 overall receiving grade last year, and he enters 2015 behind only Odell Beckham Jr. in our new PFF rating system.
–His wide receiver rating of 119.5 ranked sixth and his drop rate of 3.73 came in at seventh. He made an impact down the field, catching 12 of his 25 deep targets for 359 yards and three touchdowns, and his 48 percent catch rate on deep targets ranked fifth in our wide receiver deep passing statistic.
–Brown is also the only receiver to rank in the top six in each of the last two years in our yards per route run statistic finishing sixth in 2014 and fifth in 2013.
In short, Brown checks every box as a receiver: efficient with his targets, reliable hands, effective on all kinds of routes, especially deep patterns. The Steelers certainly have the leverage to wait on giving him a new deal, but it’d be hard to blame them if they decided to instead lock up one of the league’s best wideouts a little earlier than they needed to.