Last year, Steelers receiver Antonio Brown tried to get a new contract from the team, with three years left on his current deal. It didn’t work. This year, the potential absence of receiver Martavis Bryant for a full season gives Brown an even stronger case for getting a new contract.
Brown already could be missing some of the offseason program, given his looming participation in ABC’s Dancing with the Stars. He may decide to skip the whole thing unless and until the team rectifies the fact that his contract pays out $6.25 million this year and $8.71 million in 2017.
Brown has become one of the best receivers — if not the best receiver — in the league. Yes, he’s under contract for two more years. But Brown has grossly outperformed his five-year, $41.96 million contract.
While the Steelers have an internal rule that prohibits the extension of any contract with more than one year remaining other than the contract of a quarterback, it could make sense to deviate from that policy in this specific case. If they won’t, it could make sense for Brown to exercise his rights under the CBA to pressure the Steelers to do so.
Any effort to do so would entail risk, because the Steelers aren’t in the habit of blinking in these situations, no matter how good the player involved may be.