On Monday, the Pittsburgh Steelers signed All-Pro wideout Antonio Brown to a 4-year extension worth $68 million dollars. The extension, which starts in 2018, will keep the 27-year old in town through 2021. At a $17 million dollar, average annual value (AAV), the former 6th-round draft pick has become the highest paid wide receiver in the NFL. His contract with the Steelers could impact the Texans’ negotiations with contract-year wideout Deandre Hopkins.
While not on the same level as Brown, statistically over his career, Hopkins is still a top tier wide receiver in the NFL. Playing with less of a supporting cast, particularly at quarterback, Hopkins has still proven a matchup problem for opposing teams to deal with. He also is a durable player, having not missed a start in his 4-year career. Hopkins hasn’t been afforded a quarterback like Ben Roethlisberger in his career, but he still has put up numbers, In the last 3 seasons, Hopkins has averaged 88 receptions, 1,223 yards and 7 touchdowns. One should believe there is still room for Hopkins to grow, as well. Hopkins, who will be entering his 5th season in the NFL, won’t turn 25 years old until June.
While the team exercised Hopkins’ 5th year option for the 2017 season, the team will look to extend Hopkins long-term. With the salary cap rising, and the performance of Hopkins compared to other elite wide receivers, Hopkins looks set to break the bank. In fact, Hopkins could see Antonio Brown’s contract as a starting point in negotiations. Either way, the Texans will almost certainly look to keep the Clemson product in town for the long haul. But, the price tag may have just increased based on what happened in Pittsburgh on Monday.