AFC Notes: Brown, Steelers, Geno, Jets, Bills

While all-world receiver Antonio Brown is confident that the Steelers will address his contract before the beginning of the regular season, the team is unlikely to rip it up in favor of a new deal, reports Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The club could instead advance Brown $2MM in salary for the second straight year and then negotiate a new accord with him at season’s end. However, there is precedent for the Steelers giving Brown a new deal with two years left on it, as Fittipaldo notes. Pittsburgh handed Brown a five-year, $41MM contract after the 2011 season, his second in the NFL. Although Brown is underpaid on his current deal relative to his stellar production, Fittipaldo points out that, between what the Steelers signed him to in 2012 and will award him on his next contract, the 28-year-old will earn far more than many other members of the 2010 draft class (Dez Bryant, for instance).

Elsewhere around the AFC…

  • The Jets finally re-signed quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick earlier this week, leading to questions about fellow signal-caller’s Geno Smith roster status. It turns out that New York does not plan to move on from Smith this summer, general manager Mike Maccagnan said Friday (Twitter link via Kimberley A. Martin of Newsday). Asked if Smith will be on the Jets’ Week 1 roster, Maccagnan stated, “I would assume so. Right now, I know we like Geno Smith… Geno’s in our plans.” In addition to Smith, who has struggled since the Jets chose him in the second round of the 2013 draft, Gang Green has rookie second-rounder Christian Hackenberg and 2015 fourth-rounder Bryce Petty in reserve. With those two around and Smith’s lack of long-term security (he’ll be a free agent after the season), this is likely his final year with the franchise.
  • The Bills are “standing pat” with their quarterbacks, GM Doug Whaley said Friday (Twitter link via Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News). Buffalo was reportedly in the hunt for free agent Nick Foles after the Rams released him Thursday, though Carucci quickly shot that down. Behind starter Tyrod Taylor, who’s a candidate for a contract extension, the Bills have EJ Manuel and rookie fourth-rounder Cardale Jones as options. Manuel’s career strongly resembles Smith’s: Both were high picks in 2013 (Manuel went in Round 1) and have since failed to established themselves as starting-caliber NFL QBs. Manuel, like Smith, is in a contract year and could be in his last season with the club that drafted him. The ex-Florida State Seminole appeared in seven games (two starts) in 2015 and went 52 of 84 with three touchdowns and three interceptions.
  • Speaking of Carucci, the insider shared his thoughts on several Bills topics with PFR’s Zach Links on Friday.
  • The Titans added a household name to their receiving corps Friday, agreeing to a deal with Andre Johnson.
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2 comments on “AFC Notes: Brown, Steelers, Geno, Jets, Bills

  1. Chad Kelly, Buffalo boy and nephew of Jim, should be coming out from Ole Miss after this season. Stand pat this year, sign Taylor to an extension if you can. Let Manual walk after this year, draft Kelly, (probably have to use a 1st rounder), groom him as a backup and as leverage in deal with Taylor. Keep Jones as a project #3, he has the tools if he can ever develop them.

  2. The Bills should offer Taylor that exact same contract that Fitzpatrick just got, as an extension for next year. He might take it as he’s never had a bid contract, and a $10 mill signing bonus has a certain allure. He’s still young enough that if he plays well for the next 2 years he can get that real big contract. QB contracts are only going up. That would give the Bills an extra year to see if they can draft Kelly, and let him spend a year learning on the bench if needed. The deal with Taylor would only cost them $7 mill next year and $5 mill the year after against the cap.

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