The Pittsburgh Steelers announced that the team has placed the franchise tag on running back Le'Veon Bell, and 90 minutes later announced a four-year extension of Antonio Brown's contract that should keep him with the team through the 2021 season.
If the Steelers don't sign Bell to a multi-year contract by July 15, he'll be paid close to $12.4 million this season.
According to The NFL Network, Brown's extension is worth $68 million, or $17 million per year.
Brown started each of his 15 regular-season games played in 2016, en route to earning his fifth Pro Bowl selection and first-team Associated Press All-Pro honors for the third consecutive year. He finished the 2016 campaign second in the NFL in receptions (106), tied for second in touchdown catches (12) and fifth in receiving yards (1,284).
Since entering the NFL in 2010 as a sixth round (195th overall) draft selection of the Steelers, Brown leads all active NFL players in receptions (632) and receiving yards (8,377). He has recorded five 1,000-receiving yard campaigns (2011 and ’13-16) and four consecutive 100-reception seasons (2013-16) – joining Marvin Harrison (1999-2002) as the only players in NFL history with four straight 100-catch seasons.
Brown has appeared in 101 regular-season games with 74 starts in his NFL career, and ranks second on the Steelers’ all-time receptions list (632), third in receiving yards (8,377), fourth in touchdown catches (50), and fifth in yards from scrimmage (8,496) and combined touchdowns (55). His postseason totals include 44 receptions for 705 receiving yards with two touchdown catches in nine games (five starts).
Bell earned his second Pro Bowl selection and was named the Steelers’ Most Valuable Player following in 2016, a season in which he became the first player in NFL history to average at least 100 rushing and 50 receiving yards per game in a single-season. He led all NFL players with an average of 157.0 scrimmage yards per game in 2016, and ranked second in rushing yards per game (105.7). Bell totaled 1,884 scrimmage yards (1,268 rushing / 616 receiving), to go along with seven rushing touchdowns and two touchdown catches in 12 games played.
Since entering the NFL as the team’s second round (48th overall) draft selection in 2013, Bell has started each of his 47 regular-season games played and three postseason contests. Bell ranks fifth in Steelers history in rushing yards (4,045), is tied for sixth in rushing touchdowns (26) and is ninth in yards from scrimmage (6,050).