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Steelers extend Antonio Brown with five-year, $42.5M contract

| Friday, July 27, 2012, 7:24 p.m.
Steelers receiver Antonio Brown cuts back during practice at St. Vincent College July 27, 2012. Chaz Palla | Tribune Review

The Steelers signed their top receiver at the end of last season to a $42.5 million, five-year contract extension. There's only one surprise: It wasn't Mike Wallace.

Antonio Brown, the Steelers' MVP last season, agreed Friday to a deal that ties him to the Steelers through the 2017 season. Like Wallace this season, Brown could have become a restricted free agent next year.

Brown receives an $8.5 million signing bonus that can be spread over six seasons for salary cap purposes. His salaries will range from $540,000 this season to $8.71 million in 2017, with $6 million each in 2014 and '15. The deal creates an immediate salary cap hit of $2.264 million and jumps the Steelers' cap-countable money for 2012 by $1.7 million.

The message the Steelers sent to Wallace — their holdout receiver who wants a contract like receiver Vincent Jackson's $55 million contract with Tampa Bay — couldn't be clearer. Namely, if he wants a new contract, he needs to be in camp. Wallace, who has failed to sign his $2.742 million tender, is the only restricted free agent in the NFL who is not in training camp.

“We are excited to announce that Antonio Brown will be with the team through at least the 2017 season,” said Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert, who will further address the wide receiver contract situation Saturday. “He has played a major role in our success the last two years, and we are thrilled he will be a Steeler for many years to come.”

Brown became a favorite target of Ben Roethlisberger in 2011, especially when Wallace — who began the season with three consecutive 100-yard games — experienced a second-half slump. Brown had 51 of his 69 catches in the final 10 games, a stretch during which Wallace had only one 100-yard game. The Steelers announced the signing after practice, but Brown said earlier of the Wallace holdout: “His business is his business. I'm pretty sure he'll take care of it, and when he gets here, we'll embrace him.”

Alan Robinson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at arobinson@tribweb.com.

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