The Pittsburgh Steelers have looked to the future and made sound decisions. On Monday, the franchise locked-up Antonio Brown its all-pro wide out to a new deal of 5-years that keeps him with the Steelers through 2021.
Earlier on Monday, the team also placed it franchise tag on Le’Veon Bell its star rusher meaning he cannot negotiate with any other team.
The new deal for Brown makes him the NFL’s highest-paid receiver. Brown signed a deal for 4 years, worth $68 million.
The franchise tag placed on Bell is for all intents and purposes a deal of one year that is worth approximately $12 million unless the Steelers and Bell agree by July 15 to a new longer term deal.
In all likelihood the Bell franchise tag is just simply saying the two sides need additional time to come to an agreement keeping Bell with the Steelers for a number of years.
The new deals on Monday hit the salary cap hard for Pittsburgh, but if the two had gone into the open market they likely would have received much more due to the possible bidding war taking place by teams interested in their services.
Pittsburgh is aware the salary cap in the NFL keeps rising with the figure for 2017 expected to be from $166 million to $170 million. Last year the figure was $155.25 million. Going into Monday, Pittsburgh had cap space of $36 million it could work with.
As revenues for the league continue to soar, so do the amount teams have to dish out on players.
With talents such as Bell and Brown already on the team, the best business move is keeping them until the skills they have start to diminish.
Brown is just 28 while Bell is even younger at 25. Bell is entering his prime and Brown is in the middle of his and both are hard if not close to impossible to replace.
Another factor that is very important in signing them is the quarterback. Ben Roethlisberger is 35 and will start his 14th NFL season in September. It makes sense the Steelers secure the services of two of the best players at skill positions in the NFL.
As each season passes, the window closes a little bit more on Pittsburgh’s chances of another Super Bowl with Big Ben and his fellow stars.
Roethlisberger has not announced his return for another season, but you can bet he will be back and give it another go as he now knows his two best skills position players will be with him next season.