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Steelers' Brown restructures deal to make space for Bell

By The Sports Xchange
Steelers' Brown restructures deal to make space for Bell
Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Antonio Brown takes off running during a game against the Baltimore Ravens in December. Photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI | License Photo

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown restructured his contract in a bid to help the team create more salary cap space as it works on a long-term extension for running back Le'Veon Bell.

Brown shared a video on his Instagram account Wednesday that showed him signing an amended version of his contract that fully guarantees his 2018 salary. Agent Drew Rosenhaus is overheard explaining to Brown that he is restructuring his deal to help create more salary cap space.

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According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, Brown is designating money that would've been owed as part of his base salary to a bonus instead. The MMQB's Albert Breer reported Brown's contract restructuring will free up $9.7 million in salary cap space for the Steelers.

The Steelers, who placed the franchise tag on Bell for the second straight season on Tuesday, are attempting to keep the versatile running back from holding out of training camp.

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Bell has spoken out against the franchise tag in the past, most notably claiming he would retire from football unless he gets a contract that tops the three-year, $42 million deal that he turned down last year.

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Should he sign the agreement, Bell would receive $14.544 million in 2018. Bell sat out offseason workouts a year ago before signing his franchise contract in 2017.

Bell, 26, was optimistic a long-term deal could be struck and the sides have until July 16 to do so. He told ESPN on Monday that the two sides were "not coming to a number we both agree on."

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During Super Bowl week, Bell said that the contract talks "were all about the guarantees" and hinted that it would require more than $30 million guaranteed to get it done.

The 48th overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, Bell ran for 1,291 yards and a career-high nine touchdowns last season while catching a personal-best 85 passes for 655 yards and two scores. He was third in the NFL in rushing yards and 10th in receptions.

Brown had 101 receptions for an NFL-best 1,533 yards and nine touchdowns in 14 games this past season. The 29-year-old Brown has 733 catches for 9,910 yards and 59 touchdowns in 115 career games since Pittsburgh selected him in the sixth round of the 2010 NFL Draft.

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