Will business keep boomin' for Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Antonio Brown now that he got paid? If it does, he'll enter the record book for being the first receiver with five straight 100-catch seasons. Our AFC North reporters weigh in.
Jamison Hensley, Baltimore Ravens reporter: Yes, as long as he can stay healthy. The numbers back it up. Since the 100-catch streak began in 2013, Brown has averaged seven catches per game against AFC North teams. Of the 10 out-of-division opponents for the 2017 season, four of them (Chicago, Detroit, Minnesota and Green Bay) ranked in the top 10 last year in most receptions allowed to wide receivers. Plus, Brown gets open and Ben Roethlisberger is looking for him. Over the past four seasons, Brown has been targeted on 28.5 percent of his routes. The only other NFL receiver to be targeted more often during that stretch is Julio Jones (29.6 percent). Some will suggest Martavis Bryant's return will lower Brown's total. But Pittsburgh doesn't have a top pass-catching tight end, which should help the number of passes thrown to Brown. Expect the status quo with Brown in 2017.
Pat McManamon, Cleveland Browns reporter: Yes. Brown is a rare talent who has worked his way into the ranks of the league's elite playmakers. He's dangerous, dependable and durable. In this era of the passing game, a good receiver should easily reach 100 catches. Brown is a great receiver who seems to have a special connection with a great quarterback, Roethlisberger. There's zero reason to anticipate anything but another great season for Brown, and when all is said and done it will be a short trek for Steelers fans to his induction into the Hall of Fame.
Katherine Terrell, Cincinnati Bengals reporter: The Steelers took wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, in the second round of the draft, but don't let that fool you. Antonio Brown will get his catches in 2017. There's a reason the Steelers recently signed him to a four-year, $68 million deal. Who else does Pittsburgh have? The Ladarius Green experiment lasted only a year. Slot receiver Eli Rogers had 48 receptions last year and could take a step forward, but he'll probably still be behind running back Le'Veon Bell in the passing rotation. Bryant could eat into Brown's targets, but not by much. Brown's 106 catches last year far surpassed Bell and more than doubled Rogers' total. No other receiver has even come close to Brown's volume of catches for the past four seasons. And nobody else has proven they're ready to lessen his load. Expect Brown to be targeted as much as he has ever been in 2017.