When it comes to star wide receiver Antonio Brown, the Steelers won’t change the way they handle player contracts, according to GM Kevin Colbert. That means that Brown, who had been considering a holdout this summer, will likely have to wait until after the 2016 season to get a new deal from the team.
“Players sign contracts, we expect them to honor them,” Colbert said, per Mark Kaboly of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “If a player has one year to go other than a quarterback is when we have gotten into discussions. It has been the position of the organization and it has always been like that.
“It was something that was here before I got here and I am sure it will continue after I am gone,” Colbert added. “It is just the consistency within the organization. It is something that we believe in and it works for us, so I don’t see it changing.”
Brown, a former sixth-round pick, signed his first big, long-term contract in 2012, agreeing to a five-year, $41.7MM pact. That deal pays him over $8MM per year, but that annual average value is only the 14th-highest in the NFL among wide receivers, placing him behind players like Victor Cruz and Pierre Garcon.
Coming off a season in which he led the NFL with 129 receptions and 1,698 yards, Brown probably deserves a deal more in line with the big-money contracts signed by Dez Bryant, Demaryius Thomas, and T.Y. Hilton this offseason. However, as Colbert points out, the Steelers don’t renegotiate contracts with players until they have just one year left. Brown, who will earn base salaries of $6MM in 2015 and $8.25MM in 2016, has a deal that runs through 2017, so Pittsburgh is unwilling to rework it at this point.