Antonio Brown will arrive in Oakland as the highest-paid receiver in football, based on a blended new-money analysis of his 2017 Steelers extension and his 2019 adjustment with the Raiders. So if $19.8 million is regarded as the new new-money high-water mark, how long Will Brown hold that distinction?
Perhaps not for long.
The Chiefs currently are working on a new deal for receiver Tyreek Hill, who arguably is worth $20 million per year, or more. Brown’s deal will serve only to strengthen that argument.
Like Hill, Saints receiver Michael Thomas is entering the final year of his rookie deal. While the Saints have their hands tied to a certain extent by a monstrous $33.5 million cap number for Drew Brees in 2019, the 26-year-old Thomas surely will be getting a major payday, sooner than later. Will that contract surpass Brown’s? That remains to be seen.
The Cowboys have expressed a desire to extend receiver Amari Cooper‘s contract, which carries an option-year salary of $13.924 million. That’s a starting point that will make it harder to pump up the new-money numbers, but Brown’s contract definitely impacts Cooper’s situation — as does the fact that he’ll be eligible for the franchise tag next year. (For 2019, the franchise tender for receivers came in at $16.787 million.)
Falcons receiver Julio Jones has been clamoring for a new contract, and the Falcons have expressed a willingness to give him one. However, with more than $20 million to be paid out over the next two years on his existing deal, Jones could have a hard time besting Brown under an analysis based on new money.
Then there’s Bengals receiver A.J. Green, who is due to make $11.976 million this year, the final year of his contract. He’ll be getting a new deal at some point from someone, but he turns 31 later this year.
Being on the wrong side of 30 didn’t keep Brown from getting paid, and it likely won’t keep Jones or Green from doing the same thing. But Hill, who just turned 25 and is due to make only $1.965 million in the final year of his contract, could be the one best suited to break the bank — and to breeze past Antonio Brown at $19.8 million in new money.