Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown picked up some more hardware Monday, being named to the Pro Football Writers of America's All-AFC Team, alongside Browns WR Josh Gordon.
Gordon was also named to the All-NFL team.
Brown set a franchise record with 1,499 receiving yards on 110 catches (two shy of the club record) and eight touchdowns. He's become a vital component to this Steelers' offense, and looks to climb even higher. The Steelers offense averaged over 28 points a game over their final nine contests (6-3) after a dismal start to the season offensively.
Gordon's presence on the All-NFL team is even more impressive, considering he only played 15 games this year. His emergence, along with the re-establishment of Brown as a high-level receiver, and the presence of A.J. Green on the Bengals and Torrey Smith on the Ravens make the AFC North one of the tougher divisions in the league in terms of pass catchers.
To bolster that, keep a close eye on the development of Steelers' second-year WR Markus Wheaton as well as the contract situation between Pittsburgh and veteran WR Jerricho Cotchery. The Steelers lost WR Mike Wallace after the 2012 season, and figure to lose Emmanuel Sanders to free agency this offseason. With Brown as the bedrock moving forward, and a passing offense that emerged as one of the better units in the league, the competition for that second receiver priority position in Pittsburgh looks to be fierce.
How the Steelers will handle Cotchery's pending free agent status will be key, though. Any receiver is going to be better with another talented receiver on the other side, so it makes sense to keep Cotchery in place. After his 10-touchdown season of 2013, though, his pricetag likely went up a bit - if not so much in dollars, then definitely in years. It seems as if both sides are happy where they are, and that could make signing a deal easier.
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