The NFL is wrapping up a big deal, and the Pittsburgh Steelers are committing some serious coin. The Steelers have placed the franchise tag on running back Le’Veon Bell, and signed wide receiver Antonio Brown to a five-year deal worth a reported $75 million.
The Steelers needed to return their “Killer Bs,” but they are not quite ready to commit multiple years to Bell. If he ever does hit the market, Bell will land the biggest running back deal in the league, so it makes sense for the time being to take advantage of the franchise tag. Pittsburgh had $36 million in cap space prior to these deals, so there is some wiggle room depending on what they do in free agency.
The Brown deal makes him the highest paid wide receiver in the NFL. A.J. Green entered the day as the highest paid receiver, at $15 million per year. According to multiple reports, the deal is effectively a four-year extension that pays $17 million per year, and $18.5 million over three seasons. I imagine we’ll see a restructuring or two before the end of Brown’s time with the team.
Free agency gets started next week, and it is safe to say Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson, and others are happy with this deal. None of them are on Brown’s level, but the deal could help raise up the rest of the market for receivers.