Over the course of the last several weeks, several young wide receivers around the league have signed lucrative contract extensions and that includes Allen Hurns, Keenan Allen and Doug Baldwin. With these extensions has come the talk in the media of how each will impact Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown as it relates to his future market value. In short, these three deals figure to have no bearing on Brown whatsoever.
The Jacksonville Jaguars kicked off the recent signings earlier this month when they signed Hurns to a four year, $40.05 million extension on June 3, 2016. Being as most of that contract is considered new money, the average yearly value for Hurns currently sits at $10,012,500. An interesting note on that contract is the fact that Hurns did not receive a signing bonus. He did, however, receive $16 million in guarantees that span over the first two years (2016, 2017). In other words, the Jaguars can easily part ways with Hurns after the 2017 season without having any salary cap repercussions should they need to. Essentially, you can look at this as being a two-year deal worth $16 million, or an $8 million per year average for now.
The San Diego Chargers were next up and they signed Allen to a a four year, $45 million extension on June 10, 2016. Like Hurns, that total amount listed is the new money and thus his new yearly average is $11,250,000. Allen, however, received a $9.5 million signing bonus and another $9.5 million in roster bonuses that will be paid out in 2016 and 2017 as part of his new contract. Now, assuming Allen hits all of his extra incentives, he will earn $21,921,000 in the first two years of his deal.
Earlier this week, the Seattle Seahawks signed Baldwin to a four-year, $43.5 million extension. Sure, Baldwin can earn a total of $50 million from 2016-2020, but being as he was already scheduled to earn a base salary of $4 million in 2016 in addition to possible incentives totaling $725,000, his new money portion equals out to be $45,250,000 and when divided out over four years gives him an average of $11,312,500.
Like it or not, new money averages and guaranteed amounts are the standard when it comes to comparing and ranking players’ earnings. Just ask any agent.
If you are Brown or his agent Drew Rosenhaus, you aren’t even batting an eye at these new contracts outside of the fact that all three players now earn a highly yearly average than the Steelers wide receiver does. As far as Brown’s future market value goes, it’s long been much higher. Unless things change between now and the time that Brown ultimately receives a new contract, which could be after the 2016 season, his bottom market value yearly new money average sits somewhere north of $15 million as that is what Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green currently sits. In other words, Brown and Rosenhaus will use that as starting new money average whenever contract negotiations begin with the Steelers as long as another wide receiver doesn’t get a better deal before then. As long as Brown stays healthy and just as productive as he’s been the last few seasons, none of that is going to change.
So, what about a forthcoming contract for Denver Broncos wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders? While he could very well sign a new long-term deal before the start of the 2016 regular season, it’s foolish to think that it will ultimately have any bearing on Brown’s future market value. If I had to guess, Sanders is looking for a new money average just north of $13 million and at most, $14 million, which is what fellow Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas now earns thanks to the deal he signed last July. It will be interesting to see how those negotiations ultimately play out with John Elway and company as they still have to hammer out a new long-term contract with linebacker Von Miller as well.
When it comes to Brown, his market value hasn’t been in question for some time now and especially since the end of the 2015 season. The only question is when and if the Steelers will ultimately sign him to a new long-term extension. Judging by all of the comments that general manager Kevin Colbert has made over the course of the last calendar year or so, nothing will happen with Brown until after the 2016 season is over. If anything happens at all with Brown’s contract between now and then, it will likely include the Steelers wide receiver being paid forward some of the money he is scheduled to earn in 2017 this year.