Steelers Restructure Antonio Brown’s Contract

There is some news on the salary cap front this evening, as Adam Schefter is reporting that the Pittsburgh Steelers have restructured the contract of wide receiver Antonio Brown. This is certainly not surprising news—in fact, we have written for a while now that it was expected, if not inevitable.

What it does do is that it officially puts the Steelers in cap compliance with plenty of time to get some more work done between now and the start of free agency, which begins on Tuesday of next week.

Though the full details of the deal are not yet available, it is believed that the restructured contract frees up about $4 million in cap space for the 2014 season. Entering the day, the Steelers were estimated to be a little less than $1 million over the $133 million cap limit, so this should give them some $3 million plus of breathing room.

The moves will certainly not stop there, of course. A restructure of inside linebacker Lawrence Timmons’ contract should be imminent, perhaps tomorrow, and the contract of cornerback Ike Taylor will be adjusted substantially, if not terminated, before Tuesday. A long-term extension with Jason Worilds will also move the cap needle further into the green after accepting his transition tag.

The move to restructure Brown’s contract certainly appears to be a safe bet a season after not only proving that he can be the team’s legitimate number one receiver, but doing so without a significant threat opposite him, as he had with Mike Wallace in his first season plus of starting experience.

He did so by nearly matching Hines Ward’s team record of 112 receptions, coming just two shy of that, and putting up a franchise-best 1499 yards to do with a career-best eight touchdown receptions.

All this resulted in a Pro Bowl bid—he was the only Steeler to attend after Troy Polamalu pleaded injury to escape the trip—as well as a nomination to the Second-Team All-Pro team, which would have been a First-Team nod had Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon not had one of the greatest stretches a wide receiver has ever seen in this league.

More than that, however, Brown achieved something that nobody in this league had ever had en route to demonstrating himself as a model of consistency. He became the first player in NFL history to post at least five receptions with at least 50 yards in every game of the 2013 season. Others have done one or the other, but never both.

This is not the first time he made NFL history. In his second season in the league, he became the first player ever to record at least 1000 yards in returns while also posting at least 1000 receiving yards. He likely would have done the same this year had he been allowed to return kicks. He totaled 409 yards on 32 punt returns and added 16 on his lone kick return.

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.
  • steelster

    good job, fo

  • mlc43

    It’s good to see us with a little more cap room this year. I would like to see more work done soon as well, namely the contracts of Ben and Worilds. I would love to see us be able to geta little more than usual impact player or two from FA. Ben’s deal would be nice to get done before some other QBs drive the price up too much. We’ve definitely taken some advantage of the increased cap. Looking forward to building off a good second half of last year.

  • Matt Manzo

    Have the feeling that we’re getting ready to make some moves in Free Agency!
    Especially since they hate to start rookies on D, and didn’t see anything to change their minds from the rooks last year. I was excited about a bunch of top 3 rnd prospects back there this year but now I’m think FO wants a few veterans.
    We’ll see?!

  • Matthew Marczi

    I expect they can afford to go after a pair of mid-level free agents at least this year, assuming they make all the moves I anticipate them to make.

  • Matthew Marczi

    Cap space figures updated.

  • Alex Kozora

    Just to bounce off the 4 million savings, should mean his base salary was reduced from $6 million to right around the league minimum of 730K.

  • Rob

    BJ Raji?

  • Matthew Marczi

    He’s contemplating a one-year, $4 million contract from the Packers already, and frankly I don’t think his play last year was worth that.

  • Douglas Andrews

    2 mid level free agents especially on the defensive side would be a welcomed addition. With all these moves I hope that’s the plan. Would be nice to go into the draft not needing a WR or S.

  • shawn

    that would be the perfect move

  • Rob

    He played out of position at DE the last couple years. I think he’d be a good sign. He comes from a similar defense, we could get some pass rush out of him when we aren’t in the 3-4, and he keeps us from wasting a draft pick on a nose who we’d have to groom for years anyway

  • Matt Manzo

    Is there a FA WR you want?! I haven’t had time to scout the FAs, other than some safety’s!

  • gene mann

    This was an good move because he will still be young enough for the steelers to handle the future cap hit.

  • CrazyTerry

    All this cap restructuring does is push problems into the future. They need to start making some hard cuts this year. Ike should not come back for anything more than 2M. Woodley begone. Get a better inside LB to complement Timmons. Get a better safety to help out Troy in pass coverage. Trade Pouncey while his value is still high. His salary is going to jump big time next year.

  • Matthew Marczi

    This only pushes a little over $1.3 million on to the next three cap years, which are supposed to continue even more exponential growth. This move and the restructure that I predict for Lawrence Timmons are extremely minor compared to what they were forced to do a couple years back. This is probably the last season they have to worry about restructures, in my opinion, as there’s only about $50 million allocated to the 2015 cap at this point, when the cap is rumored to be at least $140 million, and recent reports (as I will have a post on in the morning) going up to $145 million.

  • Matthew Marczi

    I wouldn’t mind a Golden Tate in addition to bringing Cotchery back, although my guess is that they seem intent to add to the position through the draft. Sidney Rice could potentially be had somewhat on the cheap as well given his recent injuries, but he’s still young and hasn’t had much playing time with elite quarterback play.

  • Matt Manzo

    Rice would be awesome! I liked Heyward Bey and Murphy a few years ago but not sure about their durability anymore.

  • steelster

    Sidney rice has missed 27 games over the past 4 years we would be better off taking a chance on Kenny brett if we could get him cheap he is 3 years younger and has more talent

  • NW86

    Only $50M, where do you get that?? There is over $90M currently allocated to 2015, and that’s only among 24 players (less than half of a team). Heck, Ben, Woodley, and Timmons alone count for almost $50M.
    The $90M is without such players as Heyward (they’ll pick up his option year which will push it over $100M), C. Allen, Pouncey, Gilbert, Worilds, etc.

  • Matthew Marczi

    He also has a ton of issues upstairs, if you know what I mean. I’m not sure I would want to add that to this locker room.

  • Matthew Marczi

    Typo. $90 isn’t that much all things considered, and Woodley’s cap will be reduced after he’s cut.

  • steelster

    yes, I know that is the risk with him but he has to behave because his next team will probably be his last chance

  • shawn

    rather sign Soliai

  • Jazz

    I agree; it’s time to stop robbing Peter to pay Paul.

  • Brian Miller

    How about a Jason Avant? Mr. Dependable with Philly the last 9 years, and I know he would be cheap.

  • Douglas Andrews

    Most of the replies already stole my thunder for WR’s at the mid level. I would throw in Erik Decker on my wish list even thought he’s above mid level. Denver doesn’t want to pay him Welker type money. Could he be lured to the Burgh?