There comes a point when ever NFL franchise needs to make a critical decision in terms of their roster. Whether to sign a player to a healthy extension, or to let them test the free agent waters and see where things may fall. ESPN.com's NFL Insider Field Yates recently produced a list of all 32 teams and their top roster decision heading into the 2015 season.
For the Pittsburgh Steelers, Yates chose the ongoing questioning surrounding Antonio Brown's contract. Take a look at what Yates had to say regarding the Steelers' impending decision with their top wide receiver.
More bucks for Brown? Star wide receiver Antonio Brown will make just shy of $23 million over the next three years, a significant discount for the most consistent pass-catcher in the league. And although Brown denied reported interest in looking for a new deal, it is still a situation worth monitoring. Brown is a worthwhile re-investment, as he led the NFL in catches and yards in 2014 yet ranks 11th among wide receivers in base salary for 2015. Pittsburgh has traditionally avoided new deals for players prior to the final year of their contracts, but Brown might force them to make an exception.
Has Antonio Brown outplayed his contract? There isn't anyone in their right mind who would argue he hasn't. For me, the argument isn't whether Brown is deserving of a new contract, or if he should play out his current deal. The talking point is whether Brown's next contract should be considered the highest priority for the team.
Cameron Heyward, Kelvin Beachum, Le'Veon Bell and David DeCastro will all be up for new contracts soon, and the fact Brown is still under contract makes you wonder if his deal would trump the others listed above. Should Brown's deal be re-done? If it was done correctly it could save the team salary cap space, and it also would please one of the best offensive threats on the team. Nonetheless, at what expense would you be extending Brown? At the expense of a DeCastro or Heyward?
Tough decisions for an organization which looks to be on the brink of an offensive unit which could be the greatest, statistically, in franchise history.