Friday, July 27, 2012

Steelers Extend Antonio Brown

In what was a bit of a surprise the Pittsburgh Steelers locked up receiver Antonio Brown to a five year, $42.5M extension. All the talk this offseason was about how the Steelers were going to sign Mike Wallace to a long term deal and how that might work but this news just comes out of left field and is welcome news.

Here is Antonio Brown's short history in the NFL:

Receiving Rushing
Year Age Tm No. G GS Rec Yds Y/R TD Lng R/G Y/G Att Yds TD Lng
2010 24 PIT 84 9 0 16 167 10.4 0 26 1.8 18.6
2011* 25 PIT 84 16 3 69 1108 16.1 2 79 4.3 69.3 7 41 0 10
Career 25 3 85 1275 15.0 2 79 3.4 51.0 7 41 0 10
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 7/27/2012.

Brown burst on to the scene last year after being pretty much quiet in his rookie campaign and when Wallace was being double and getting coverage rolled over the top Brown thrived into being the team's go to target. Over the final ten games of the season Brown caught 51 passes for 841 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

This is a welcome sign as the Steelers didn't need to sign Brown until after the season as he would have been a restricted free agent but the Steelers got ahead of the curve and got this done before any trouble was going to start. Brown had a breakout season this year and if the Steelers waited one more year this might have got much more expensive for the Steelers. Usually the team doesn't dish out big money for receivers but with Ben Roethilisberger in his prime the team knows they needed to sign some threats for him to throw to, starting with Brown.

With the signing of Brown I see a lot of people say that Wallace is now gone. I disagree with this because that isn't how the Steelers do business. The Steelers needed to sign Brown next season so what if the Steelers signed Brown next year for this same price tag and they signed Wallace before? These are mutually exclusive contracts and I still have a pretty good feeling that Wallace is coming back.

I know I am probably going to see that Brown is a better receiver than Wallace but they are totally different in what they do for the team. Wallace is the deep threat that is still learning how to run the underneath routes and still working on being a full time receiver. Brown does a great job of working underneath but he is not a great route runner. Different receivers and both still have work to do but it is great to see Brown locked up.

I think it is also worth noting that while Brown had a great season last year I think some of that can go to what Wallace does for the team. As I said above Wallace was drawing double coverage and getting the safety rolled over much of the time leaving Brown to work underneath with single coverage. I will take that all day. If Wallace is not there in week one does that double team flip to Brown? How does he handle that and can he be as productive as the top guy? I am pretty excited to see if he can if it comes to that.

All in all this is a pretty exciting deal to keep one of the most exciting play makers in the league on the team. I know you might do a double take when you see most exciting play makers but if you watched him play last year to any degree I think you understand what I mean.

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