Any time a professional athlete wants more money, it’s only natural for the working class folks to start screaming. If you follow any social media accounts at all then you saw this unfolding in the minutes and hours following the news about Antonio Brown.
The hard truth is this; Antonio Brown has performed about as well as you possibly can when it comes to the receiver position in the National Football League. Despite being under-sized by today’s standards, Brown has clearly put himself into the top three of the league’s best pass catchers.
The argument against Brown getting a new deal is valid. He still has three years left on his deal and the team showed their faith in him by awarding him a new contract when Mike Wallace was the one trying to get the money.
The chances of the Steelers re-doing a deal with three years left on it is, well, never going to happen. I’ve learned to never “say never” about anything but I don’t see them changing course here.
The argument for AB getting a new deal also has merit. Despite being one of the top receivers in football, he’s paid unlike it. He currently is the 14th-highest paid receiver in the game. Is he having trouble putting food on the table? Uh, no… But that isn’t how professional sports works though and you know it.
When you look at a list of receivers over the $10 million per year threshold you can see Brown’s argument. It’s thought that Brown ranks in the top three with these two guys, Calvin Johnson and Dez Bryant. But the others?
Vincent Jackson, Wallace, Jeremy Maclin and Brandon Marshall are all above $10 million per season and I’m sorry but I would take Brown over every one of them all day long.
This doesn’t mean the Steelers will suddenly alter their usual paradigm when it comes to negotiating with players but it does provide some basis as to why Brown is seeking a new deal.
Football careers are short. Troy Polamalu played an extremely long time compared to the normal career and when he retired, he was 33 years old. Guys want to get paid while they can.
Bottom line? I don’t blame Brown for wanting to get paid. The guy is durable, he works his tail off and he produces. He’s also re-structured his deal a couple of times in order to help the team.
I think the Steelers learned some valuable lessons back when Hines Ward wanted a new deal though and I don’t see them being held hostage. Brown will need to play at least the 2015 season before the Steelers will start talking a new deal.