The case for paying Antonio Brown

Examining what makes the Steelers' star wide receiver one of the best in the NFL.

| 2 years ago
Steelers WR Antonio Brown

(AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

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.

  • Asmitty56

    As much as I’d love for Brown to be a Steeler for life, they eventually have to pay Bell as well, and he will likely be the 2nd highest paid Steeler and arguably more important than Brown. Imo they shouldn’t think about signing Brown until they make a decision on whether to keep Wheaton long term or not, because I think the offense would still be pretty damn good with Bryant, Coates(?), Wheaton, and Bell.

    • Sam Doohan

      It’s true that they’ll have to pay Bell but I don’t think this’ll turn into a Bryany/Murray kinda thing. The salary cap keeps going up so assuming the Steelers’ front office is reasonably smart they can sign Brown this year with a number that fits todays cap then sign Bell once the cap has increased again.

      On a more personal level I think they’ll do almost anything to keep this nucleaus of talent together at least until Ben starts to show some statistical decline. Once we start talking about Ben retiring then sure maybe they let Brown go but the Steelers are poised to make Superbowl runs for the next few seasons. Even for an organisation as conservative as the Steelers, I could definitely see them betting the farm to get another Lombardi – it’d cement Ben as a dynasty type QB on a par with Brady and push them way out ahead of everyone else in SB wins. What they have now is damn near impossible to get again, even ten years down the line they might never see this much talent again so they’ve got to milk it for everything it’s worth.

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