With negotiations of an extension likely coming soon, the Pittsburgh Steelers have gained some brownie points from franchise wide receiver Antonio Brown.
The franchise has taken $4 million of their 2017 salary owed to Brown and placed it into his 2016 salary. This winds up making this years salary $10.25 million as opposed to $6.25 million. Now that Brown has his 2016 salary increased, the stage is set for a larger extension in the near future.
The deal includes no additional years, but includes an $8.975 million signing bonus and a $1.275 million base salary has set the stage for negotiations. The Steelers have promised to rework Brown’s contract after the season, sources have told ESPN.
Before the 2015 season, the Steelers took $2 million of their 2016 cap space, giving Brown an $8 million plus signing bonus. Brown rewarded them with 136 catches, 1,834 yards, and 10 touchdowns in return.
As a result of the restructure though, Brown’s 2017 salary, on the last year of his contract, goes down from $8.7 million to $4.7 million. Brown is clearly worth more than that and will not likely play under that figure if he keeps producing.
With 265 catches since 2014, Brown has easily played better than he has been paid for, but the Steelers are giving him a nice advance to hold him over until an extension is put into place, likely during or at the end of the 2017 season.
“You have to take care of your guys” Brown said at the start of training camp. “If a guy underperforms, you get rid of him. If a guy overperforms, you take care of him.”
The Steelers recently cleared cap space with restructured contracts for right tackle Marcus Gilbert and safety Mike Mitchell. They intend to use the more than $4 million in additional space toward Brown’s restructured deal and a possible extension for All-Pro guard David DeCastro before the September 12th season opener at Washington.
This reward will likely sweeten this contract for Brown and help in extension negotiations.