Is Antonio Brown headed to a contract showdown with the Pittsburgh Steelers? He is underpaid by any measure andhe wants a new deal. Will the Steelers renegotiate Antonio Brown’s contract or will Brown make good on his rumored threats of a hold out? Steelers Nation will have to wait until 2016 to find out, but Steelers General Manager Kevin Colbert clarified one thing:
- The Pittsburgh Steelers have no plans to modify their contract negotiation policy.
The Steelers policy on contract negotiations is that they do not renegotiate contracts for non-quarterbacks until the player as reached its final year. Hines Ward considered testing the policy prior to 2004, but opted not to.
Antonio Brown made headlines, or more precisely his agent Drew Rosenhaus did, when Brown missed the first week of Steelers voluntary off season workouts. The media immediately labeled it as “hold out” although Brown quickly worked to dissipate those rumors, informing fans he’d been spending time with his sons.
- Rosenhaus visited Steelers training camp last week, and again leaked that his mission was to renegotiate a new deal.
However, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review’s Mark Kaboly spoke with Kevin Colbert who confirmed that the Steelers simply accommodated Rosenhaus with a courtesy visit. When asked about the posiblity of renegotiating Brown’s contract, Colbert informed Kabloy:
It was something that was here before I got here, and I am sure it will continue after I am gone. It is just the consistency within the organization. It is something that we believe in and it works for us, so I don’t see it changing.
The last two players to get contract extensions while they still had multiple years remaining on their deal were Tommy Maddox in 2004 and Ben Roethlisberger in 2008. Kordell Stewart also got a contract extension in 1999 following a very rough 1998 campaign.
Solution for Antonio Brown Contract Impasse
Antonio Brown is one of the NFL’s top five receivers yet he ranks only 14th in salary and that ranking will drop as receivers negotiate new deals. With three years remaining on his deal and the Steelers unwilling to renegotiate his deal, it would seem like Brown has little choice but to accept that the Steelers will recognize past service in his next contract.
- Given that the Steelers did something similar for James Harrison in 2009, there is ample precedent for this.
However, the Steelers take an extra step to show good faith and guarantee the rest of Antonio Brown’s contract. The move wouldn’t change how much money Brown is making, but it would state unequivocally that the Steelers will stand behind Brown, even should he suffer a career-ending injury.