Adam Schefter of ESPN first reported the new pact. Mike Garafolo of NFL Network reported that Brown will now earn more than $10 million in 2016, up from an expected $6.25 million. Garafolo also noted that the contract is still set to expire after the 2017 campaign. However, Schefter reported that the team is "promising to give him a true extension after this season."
The wideout posted a picture on social media with agent Drew Rosenhaus while signing the deal:
Brown is one of the NFL's best and most dependable receivers. He tallied 375 catches for more than 5,000 yards and 31 touchdowns over the last three seasons as his connection with Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger reached remarkable heights.
His contract during that time made him a steal for the Steelers. He counted just over $16 million against the cap across those three seasons combined, according to Spotrac.
As a result, there were rumblings all the way back to last offseason that Brown might consider holding out in search of a new, more lucrative contract.
The 28-year-old Central Michigan product ended up arriving to training camp on time last July, and he explained why he made that decision, as noted by Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com.
"Holdouts never go well. Just look at history. It always ends badly," Brown said. "It wouldn't be the best decision. I make a lot of money. I pull up to camp in Rolls-Royces."
In May, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk noted that Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert discussed the issue on PFT Live. Although he wouldn't discuss whether the team would make alterations to the current deal, he expected the wideout to fulfill the contract:
He does have two years left and we expect that to be honored without any issue. Again, Antonio's a unique player. We understand that and he understands our policies. I don't ever see that changing as long as we still have the mindset that it's been good for the organization. Again we understand that he's a special player and we're glad we have him for two more years anyway.
Brown told reporters in early August, per Fowler: "You have to take care of your guys. If a guy underperforms, you get rid of him. If a guy overperforms, you take care of him."
Now, the Steelers have decided to reward his loyalty. Of course, keeping him happy is one of their top priorities. While they have some solid secondary options such as Markus Wheaton and Sammie Coates, neither is capable of handling that high-volume No. 1 role right now.
Nothing will change for Brown despite having the fresh contract in hand. He's still going to see an eye-popping number of targets, working every area of the field to create matchup problems to get open for Roethlisberger, who looks his way early and often.
In other words, Brown will continue to make the difficult look routine. That's why he's one of the NFL's most valuable players.