Braves Brandon Beachy Jersey

Braves right-hander Shelby Miller’s last extended outing of the Grapefruit League may have been his best.

The Pirates managed just a couple of hard hits against Miller over six innings on Sunday. He struck out four batters and walked just one.

“I felt strong out there, which is the main thing,” Miller said. “Getting closer to the season you want to start feeling good. Right now I feel like I’m where I need to be physically. I’ve still got some things to work on off the mound but I feel comfortable where I’m at.”

Miller retired the Pirates in order in the first, second, third and fifth innings. Austin Meadows led off the third with a triple and scored when Pedro Florimon flied out to left fielder Jonny Gomes.

Wilkin Castillo was the only other batter to reach base when he led off the sixth inning with a walk. Miller retired three straight Pirates on groundouts to end the inning and his day.

“Boy, he was nails,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “He had command from the very start. He’s put together a string of two or three starts like that. It’s good to see.”

In his first Grapefruit League start Miller couldn’t get out of the first inning while allowing four runs. Since then, he’s allowed just two runs over his past 18 innings.

Miller is scheduled for a shorter spring outing before the regular season.

Miller, 24, was the key player the Braves got from the Cardinals in return for Jason Heyward in November. In three years with the Cardinals he was 26-18 with a 3.33 ERA, 312 strikeouts and 134 walks over 370 innings.

Antonio Cromartie Authentic Jersey

Max Scherzer has been terrific this spring. He made his fifth start on Wednesday and delivered another strong outing. Facing a Cardinals’ lineup of regulars, he struck out nine batters over six scoreless innings and allowed only three hits on 82 pitches. His off-speed pitches had wicked movement. He issued no walks and hit one batter in his longest outing of the spring.

Scherzer’s overall line so far: 20 innings, 1.35 ERA, 23 strikeouts, one walk and a .205 opponents’ batting average.

“He threw really well,” Manager Matt Williams said. “Great breaking balls. Fastballs where he wanted it. It’s good.”

Scherzer got into a jam in the fifth inning, giving up a single to Yadier Molina and double to Jon Jay with one out. He then struck out Kolten Wong and Michael Wacha to escape without any runs scored.

“I had to go back and dig out of it and then go back out there for the sixth and really get my pitch count up,” he said. “So I got a lot out of it from a physical standpoint.”

Scherzer’s next start, his final one before his opening day start, will push him to the needed seven-inning, 90-95 pitch mark.

“I gotta go out there again and try to extend my pitch count a little bit deeper,” he said. “[Wednesday,] I’m starting to labor around the 75-85 pitch mark. Hopefully, I start pushing that back into the 85-90 pitch mark when I start laboring and really start digging deep. I got to that next time out.”

Even when Scherzer’s command isn’t at its best, he can survive with good stuff. So far this spring, he has done a good job of attacking hitters, as evidenced by his absurd strikeout-to-walk ratio. Scherzer may pile up the strikeouts but it can drive his pitch count up.

“I really felt like I did a good job of generating swings and misses with all my pitches but more importantly I didn’t walk anybody,” he said. “I was pounding the zone. I think I only fell behind two hitters too so that’s a more telling number than anything is that I’m pounding the zone.  I’m pounding the zone with all my pitches and that’s something I can take forward into the season.”

>>> Drew Storen (left hamate bone surgery) had no issues with his live bullpen session on Wednesday in Viera.

“Threw good,” Williams said.

>>> Yunel Escobar (oblique) also had no issues with his second game. He played five innings at second base and went 0 for 3 with three groundouts.

“His track record is such that we know he doesn’t strike out a whole bunch,” Williams said. “It’s still early for him but he’s on everything. The second game in it’s good that he’s on pitches and seeing it good right now. That’s all we’re concerned about right now.”

>>> Aaron Barrett had his first wild outing of the spring. He hit Wong to start the eighth inning. Pinch hitter Charlie Tilson stole second. A wild pitch moved Tilson to third. A sacrifice fly by Ty Kelly gave the Cardinals a 1-0 lead, which eventually served as the final score in the Nationals’ loss.

Barrett then gave up a single to Pete Kozma, who was later caught stealing, and walked Randal Grichuk and Peter Bourjos. Rafael Martin replaced Barrett, walked a batter and then struck out Stephen Piscotty to end the frame. Barrett, who is competing for a spot in the bullpen, has walked three and struck out three in 7 1/3 innings this spring. He has a 1.23 ERA.

Yasiel Puig Baseball Jersey

Yasiel Puig and Enrique Hernandez each homered off Indians AL Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber, but Cleveland beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 4-2 Sunday.

Hernandez, the Dodgers’ leadoff batter, hit Kluber’s sixth pitch of the day over the center field fence. Puig connected on Kluber’s first pitch of the fourth inning

for his third homer.

“He’s a great pitcher,” said Puig, who also homered Friday night. “But then he made a mistake. The first couple of times, he got me.”

Kluber pitched 5 2/3 innings, yielding three hits, two runs and a walk. He struck out six. Overall this spring, he’s been taken deep four times in 12 2/3 innings.

“It’s probably the best I’ve felt consistently,” said the right-hander. “It’s that feeling I’ve been looking for on a consistent basis. It’s feeling I should be able

to keep.”

The Indians scored one in the fourth on a sacrifice fly by Carlos Santana.

They added three in the seventh. Yan Gomes hit an RBI double to left. Jesus Aguilar scored on Ryan Raburn’s groundout, and Lonnie Chisenhall had an RBI ground-rule

double to right.

STARTING TIME

Dodgers: Left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu was sent to Los Angeles for a medical evaluation on his ailing shoulder. It is unlikely Ryu will be ready for the start of the

season. As a result, the Dodgers are considering other options. David Huff is one option. He gave up one hit over three scoreless innings.

“I just got into a pretty groove there,” said Huff, who has given up one run and six hits in 8 2/3 innings over four appearances.

Within one week, the Dodgers have started Huff, Chris Anderson, Chad Gaudin and Erik Bedard. All are non-roster invitees. The Dodgers also are expected to take a

closer look at Zach Lee, Carlos Frias, Mike Bolsinger and Joe Weiland.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Indians: Second baseman Jason Kipnis missed his fourth straight game because of an ailing back. He’s not expected to play Monday against the A’s in Goodyear. He might

get some work with the minor leaguers before he appears in another Cactus League game.

Dodgers: Bedard is scheduled to undergo a MRI Monday for a strained muscle in his left side. He was injured after throwing 30 pitches in a start Saturday in San

Antonio. … Opening day starter Clayton Kershaw didn’t show any ill effects from the line drive that knocked out two of his teeth Friday. He’s still scheduled to

start Thursday against the White Sox. … Reliever Brandon League, who had an injection for an inflamed right shoulder Tuesday, worked through a 15-pitch bullpen

Sunday.

UP NEXT

Indians: Zach McAlister gets his third start in five spring appearances Monday against the A’s in Oakland. The right-hander, who is competing for a spot as the fifth

starter, has worked 10 innings, allowing five runs on 12 hits.

Dodgers: Chris Anderson, a right-hander who has pitched three innings in two appearances this spring, gets the start Monday against the Diamondbacks at Camelback Ranch

instead of Brandon McCarthy. McCarthy opted to pitch in a minor league game. “It’s a chance to control the ups and downs,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. “He can

work on what he thinks he needs to.” McCarthy got rocked in his last outing, giving up six runs to the Cubs in four innings.

Malcolm Butler Authentic Jersey

Proposed NFL rules change aimed at Patriots’ eligible receiver tactic

If you can’t beat ’em, change the rules to stop ’em.

That’s the message the NFL is sending this offseason as league owners prepare to vote on a bevy of proposed rule changes for the 2015 season next week at the annual NFL meetings in Arizona.

Of the 23 rules proposals on the docket, one in particular is a direct response to the eligible-ineligible tactics the Patriots pulled out of their bag of tricks in their 35-31 win over the Ravens in January’s AFC playoffs. The proposal would allow any player who wears an eligible offensive number (1-49, 80-89) to line up in an ineligible position, but only inside the tackle box.

And it would make what the Patriots did against the Ravens a 5-yard penalty.

In that game, the Patriots used running back Shane Vereen as an ineligible player and lined him up as a slot receiver. The tactic confused the Ravens — who didn’t know which players to defend — on three plays, and helped the Patriots drive for a touchdown and cut their deficit to 7 points.

Under the proposed rule change, if a player declares ineligible and lines up outside the tackle, he will be penalized 5 yards for illegal formation.

While 19 of the 23 rule changes were proposed by teams, this particular proposal was made by the Competition Committee, which submitted four proposals in total. The Competition Committee is composed of nine league officials — owners, presidents, general managers, and head coaches — and Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome is one of the members.

Rams coach Jeff Fisher, another member of the Competition Committee, said the proposal was made after hearing from several teams about the Patriots’ tactics. He said that by limiting the ineligible players to lining up inside the tackle box, it will bring some order to the game.

“Unless we had some guidelines in place, this thing may get out of hand,” Fisher said.

On the disputed play vs. the Ravens, Shane Vereen was ineligible and did not run downfield when the ball was snapped.

This isn’t the first time the NFL will look to change a rule in regard to the Patriots’ tactics. After the 2004 season, the NFL started enforcing illegal contact penalties more strictly after the Patriots clutched and grabbed the Colts’ receivers in a playoff win.

Of the 23 proposals to be voted upon, three come from the Patriots. One proposes that coaches use a timeout to call a challenge, no longer throwing the red flag, and that if a coach is successful on two challenges, he gets a third challenge. The Patriots also propose adding fixed cameras to the end lines, goal lines, and sidelines to aid in instant replay. And for the second year in a row, the Patriots propose moving the line of scrimmage for extra points back to the 15-yard line to make it a more competitive kick. A 2-point try would still come from the 2-yard line under the Patriots’ proposal.

The committee is submitting a proposal by the Lions that would allow the instant replay system to correct an officiating error. That would include such judgment calls as pass interference. Currently, no penalties are reviewable.

Fisher made it clear that his peers wouldn’t favor such a change.

‘‘It would be our responsibility on the field whether these are fouls or not fouls,’’ Fisher said of his fellow coaches. ‘‘This [replay review] was never designed to involve fouls.’’

The Redskins suggested increasing a coach’s number of challenges from two to three, regardless of whether he is successful on an early challenge.

Other proposals include guaranteeing both teams a possession in overtime even if one scores a touchdown on its first drive; and a scenario that gives teams that successfully convert a 2-point conversion the chance to immediately add another point from midfield with a ‘‘bonus field goal.’’

Almost certain to be discussed is an expansion of the playoffs from 12 to 14 teams, which also would cut out one wild-card round bye per conference. The committee looked into the advantages and disadvantages last year and, according to Falcons president Rich McKay, ‘‘from a competitive standpoint we don’t think there is a competitive negative to [expanding] the playoffs.’’

No proposals on the handling of footballs before games were made while the league awaits the Wells report on the Patriots’ use of deflated footballs in the AFC Championship game.

Also, because teams are running out of permitted numbers for linebackers, the committee proposed allowing numbers 40-49 to be used for the position, along with 50-59 and 90-99.

The owners will vote on all 23 rules changes near the end of the three-day owners meetings. A rule needs 24 of 32 votes to be passed.

Sidney Crosby Authentic Jersey

The Penguins had a really, really bad weekend

The Pittsburgh Penguins collectively woke up on the wrong side of the bed Saturday morning. Then at least a few of them walked under a ladder that fell into and broke a mirror while a black cat crossed immediately in front of all of that. That’s the only explanation for the way this weekend went as the Penguins lost two games and two key players to injury over the last two days.

Sunday was probably the weirdest of the two days, but Saturday certainly wasn’t kind to the Pens. They ended up playing the Boston Bruins without Sidney Crosby, who was a late scratch due to not feeling well. Then early in the game, they lost Evgeni Malkin to injury.

As you can imagine, going without your two best players is not a recipe for success. The Penguins couldn’t even manage a goal as they fell 2-0 to the Bruins on home ice. But things were just plain bizarre Sunday.

The club got Crosby back for the matinee against the Detroit Red Wings, but did not have Malkin available. That’s obviously not ideal, but the Pens usually can manage to get by without one or the other.

When the puck dropped Sunday, however, the game got off to a rough start for Pittsburgh and went downhill from there. First off, the Red Wings opened the scoring just 1:21 into the game off of a Riley Sheahan deflection.

Things really took a turn after Steve Downie drilled a linesman trying to get into a scrum. That was the first in a string of strange penalties, including three against game officials (which we already detailed here).

There was also a strange instance where forward Blake Comeau delivered a check on Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg. Comeau ended up bouncing off of Zetterberg and fell backwards, hitting his helmeted head violently on the ice. That knocked Comeau out of the game, but only briefly as he managed to return to action in the second period. This looked painful, though:

The second period, which started with five Penguins in the penalty box, got worse when Marek Zidlicky drilled a one-timer to make it 3-0 just 39 seconds into the middle frame.

The Penguins appeared to respond not long after, but the goal was waved off. The officials on the ice ruled that it was goaltender interference, which was a bit of a stretch, but there was a hand pass on Patric Hornqvist that went uncalled that should’ve negated the goal anyway. The referees got the call right, but maybe not for the reasons it should have been right. Here’s a look at that whole sequence:

The Penguins had a really, really bad weekend
By Chris Peters | Hockey Writer
March 15, 2015 5:37 pm ET

The Pittsburgh Penguins did not have a very fun weekend. (USATSI) The Pittsburgh Penguins did not have a very fun weekend. (USATSI)

The Pittsburgh Penguins collectively woke up on the wrong side of the bed Saturday morning. Then at least a few of them walked under a ladder that fell into and broke a mirror while a black cat crossed immediately in front of all of that. That’s the only explanation for the way this weekend went as the Penguins lost two games and two key players to injury over the last two days.

Sunday was probably the weirdest of the two days, but Saturday certainly wasn’t kind to the Pens. They ended up playing the Boston Bruins without Sidney Crosby, who was a late scratch due to not feeling well. Then early in the game, they lost Evgeni Malkin to injury.

As you can imagine, going without your two best players is not a recipe for success. The Penguins couldn’t even manage a goal as they fell 2-0 to the Bruins on home ice. But things were just plain bizarre Sunday.

The club got Crosby back for the matinee against the Detroit Red Wings, but did not have Malkin available. That’s obviously not ideal, but the Pens usually can manage to get by without one or the other.

When the puck dropped Sunday, however, the game got off to a rough start for Pittsburgh and went downhill from there. First off, the Red Wings opened the scoring just 1:21 into the game off of a Riley Sheahan deflection.

Penguins Penalties
LOOK: Penguins had a penalty box party

Things really took a turn after Steve Downie drilled a linesman trying to get into a scrum. That was the first in a string of strange penalties, including three against game officials (which we already detailed here).

There was also a strange instance where forward Blake Comeau delivered a check on Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg. Comeau ended up bouncing off of Zetterberg and fell backwards, hitting his helmeted head violently on the ice. That knocked Comeau out of the game, but only briefly as he managed to return to action in the second period. This looked painful, though:

The second period, which started with five Penguins in the penalty box, got worse when Marek Zidlicky drilled a one-timer to make it 3-0 just 39 seconds into the middle frame.

The Penguins appeared to respond not long after, but the goal was waved off. The officials on the ice ruled that it was goaltender interference, which was a bit of a stretch, but there was a hand pass on Patric Hornqvist that went uncalled that should’ve negated the goal anyway. The referees got the call right, but maybe not for the reasons it should have been right. Here’s a look at that whole sequence:

Minutes later, Penguins blueliner Kris Letang had words with one of the officials that ended up earning him an unsportsmanlike conduct minor, 10-minute misconduct and game misconduct for a robust 22 penalty minutes. So now the Penguins were without Malkin due to injury and their best defenseman for the second half of the game thanks to Letang’s ejection.

The closing period brought more bizarreness to the table. First up, Red Wings rookie Teemu Pulkkinen scored his second goal of the game despite breaking his stick. The puck ended up fluttering after catching a deflection on the way towards the net and that fooled goaltender Thomas Greiss, who had relieved Marc-Andre Fleury after Detroit’s fourth goal. It was one of those wacky bounces that just seemed to be piling on the awfulness of the Penguins’ Sunday afternoon.

Just over two minutes later, Downie got mixed up with defenseman Brendan Smith and took his second 10-minute misconduct of the game for unsportsmanlike conduct. Combining his two misconducts with the cross-checking penalty he got in the second period, he ended up with 22 penalty minutes for the game. Downie now has 221 penalty minutes this season and it sounds like his head coach would really like him to knock it off.

Johnston met with Downie before the game to talk about avoiding penalties. 22 penalty minutes today.
— Josh Yohe (@JoshYohe_Trib) March 15, 2015

We’ll see if that earns Downie a seat in the press box next game.

Of all the horrible, no good, very bad things that happened to the Pens, the worst had to be the apparent injury suffered by Hornqvist. The veteran winger pulled up lame while in pursuit of the puck, even dropping his stick and clutching his lower back as he struggled to get to the bench.

After the game, Johnston had no update on his status going forward, but it certainly doesn’t sound positive.

Coach Johnston on Hornqvist: “He’s got an injury. We’ll find out tomorrow. It looked bad when he came off the ice.”
— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) March 15, 2015

On top of everything that happened in the game, the Penguins just couldn’t seem to solve Red Wings goaltender Petr Mrazek, who made 42 saves to earn the win for Detroit. Pittsburgh did manage a too-little-too-late goal with 10:50 remaining in the game, but that was it.

The Penguins ended the game with a 5-1 loss, while racking up 64 penalty minutes and losing Hornqvist for who knows how long.

Johnston summed up the weekend pretty well after Sunday’s loss.

Coach Johnston: “Yesterday we lost two of our key players. Today we lost our composure.”
— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) March 15, 2015

That sounds like a guy who can’t wait for Monday.

Seattle Quarterback Russell Wilson Jersey

It began with a cursory phone call and ended with the two-time NFC champion Seattle Seahawks landing one of the top tight ends in the NFL.

Jimmy Graham is taking his touchdowns and goalpost dunks to the Pacific Northwest. FOX NFL Insider Jay Glazer first reported the news.

“This is an offensive weapon that we’re adding,” Seattle general manager John Schneider said. “A guy that is a big-time difference maker at his position. Obviously a top two or three tight end in the league.”

The Seahawks and New Orleans Saints agreed to a trade Tuesday sending Graham to Seattle in exchange for veteran center Max Unger, pending a physical. The trade also includes Seattle sending its first-round pick this year to the Saints and the Seahawks receiving New Orleans’ fourth-round selection.

Adding pass-catching options for Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson appeared to be an offseason priority. But rather than going into free agency, the Seahawks went after one of the top pass catchers in the league regardless of position, and a perennial Pro Bowl tight end.

Schneider said the conversations started with New Orleans about general topics and a number of players before getting focused on Graham.

“In complementing the rest of our team, we think he’s just a fantastic target that we can implement in a number of ways,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. “It’s pretty clear he’s a big receiver, plays big, makes plays in a crowd, makes plays on top of guys. He’s a very effective player in the red zone, he has been a terrific, consistent scorer, so all of that stuff, we’re just going to fit it into our offense and make him hopefully a very complementary part of it.”

Seattle also signed cornerback Cary Williams to a three-year deal, filling a need in the secondary after injuries and the departure of Byron Maxwell to Philadelphia.

That signing was secondary to the deal for Graham, the former college basketball player who played one year of college football at Miami before the Saints drafted him in 2010. He became the favorite target of Drew Brees in only his second season with 99 catches for 1,310 yards and 11 touchdowns, which led the Saints in all three categories.

Graham has yet to match his 2011 numbers since, but still led New Orleans last season with 85 receptions and 10 touchdown catches despite playing through an injured shoulder. His 889 yards receiving were third on the club last season.

Since the start of the 2011 season, Graham leads all tight ends in receptions, yards receiving and touchdowns. He held out before the start of last season before signing a $40 million, four-year extension rather than playing under the franchise tag. Seattle will inherit the remaining three years on that contract.

But there may be some bridges to mend in the Seattle locker room when Graham arrives. The Seahawks’ defense was not very complimentary of Graham when the teams met in the 2013 playoffs, including a pregame altercation with linebacker Bruce Irvin, and defensive end Michael Bennett calling Graham overrated after the game.

Carroll said he didn’t believe the past comments would be an issue.

“I know a number of our players have already contacted him and talked to Jimmy, and I’m sure that helps him if he ever had any thoughts,” Carroll said.

Despite trading away Graham, the Saints should remain dynamic in the passing game. New Orleans is keeping wide receiving Marques Colston after renegotiating his contract, and the Saints have two promising young receivers in 2013 fifth-round draft choice Kenny Stills and 2014 first-rounder Brandin Cooks.

Unger has been Seattle’s starting center since late in his rookie season and fills an immediate need for New Orleans after veteran Jonathan Goodwin became a free agent. Unger was slowed by injuries last season, playing just six regular-season games suffering from ankle and foot injuries. Unger was an All-Pro in 2012 and was a big reason Seattle had the top rushing offense in the NFL.

In the six games Unger played — the first four and Weeks 10 and 11 — the Seahawks averaged 392.5 yards of offense per game, including 203.8 yards rushing. Seattle also allowed 13 total sacks in those six games and Wilson had a passer rating of 95 or higher in five of the six.

In the 10 games Unger missed, Seattle averaged nearly 30 yards less of offense, but the big drop-off was in the running game. The Seahawks rushed for just 153.9 yards in those 10 games when Unger was out.

“He is a tough, physical player where he blocked for one of the top rushing offenses in the NFL, he has been a solid contributor to Seattle’s success,” New Orleans coach Sean Payton said in a statement.

Unger started the Super Bowl loss to New England, but Seattle used a trio of players — Stephen Schilling, Patrick Lewis and Lemuel Jeanpierre — with Unger out and there is no clear choice to take over. Lewis is under contract for next season, while Jeanpierre and Schilling both became free agents.

Randall Cobb Green Bay Packers Jersey

OK, maybe it’s not always about the money.

Granted, $40 million over four years is hardly chump change.

But if Randall Cobb indeed took less to rejoin the Green Bay Packers — doing so on Saturday night a few hours after his agent was able to begin talking to other teams — then the receiver made an important, and perhaps unusual, statement: Winning matters at least as much as, if not more than, the money.

It sounds like Cobb could have gotten more money elsewhere, say, from the Oakland Raiders, Jacksonville Jaguars or Houston Texans — all of whom were supposedly interested and might have talked to Cobb’s agent, Jimmy Sexton, when the free-agency negotiating window opened on Saturday afternoon.

Earlier on Saturday, I asked a prominent NFL personnel man this question: If Cobb signs with a team like the Raiders, isn’t that basically saying he cares more about the money than winning?

His answer was this: “It’s always about the money.”

And it would have been hard to begrudge Cobb for maximizing his earnings potential.

After all, NFL careers are short.

Even though Cobb is only 24 years old, the former second-round draft pick surely realizes that he could easily suffer another injury like he did in 2013, when he missed 10 games because of a fractured lower leg on a routine catch over the middle of the field.

Last year, Cobb had his best season — 91 catches, 1,287 yards and a dozen touchdowns — at precisely the right time. His rookie contract, one that paid him $3.2 million over his first four seasons, was about to expire. It put him in position to cash in.

His deal with the Packers eclipsed the four-year, $39 million contract extension his teammate and fellow Packers receiver Jordy Nelson signed last July.

Late Saturday night, I reached out to that same personnel man and said this to him: I guess winning is more important to Cobb than the money.

His reply was: “And so is having a quarterback.”

And the Packers have the best one in reigning NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers.

With Rodgers and the nucleus of the Packers’ offense intact, Cobb knows he has a chance to win it all.

Aaron Brewer Broncos Jersey

Oh, this is rich.

On Thursday morning, Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning accepted a $4 million pay cut by signing a new contract that will pay him $15 million this season.

On Thursday afternoon, the Broncos reached an agreement in principal with longsnapper Aaron Brewer on a four-year contract. The contract’s total value? Yep, $4 million.

Truth is, it was a coincidence. Manning’s pay cut was for this season’s cash budget. Brewer’s deal features a $740,000 signing bonus and makes him the NFL’s 11th-highest-paid snapper.

All veteran longsnappers make pretty much the same money. The highest-paid longsnappers are Miami’s John Denney and the New York Giants’ Zak DeOssie, who each average $1.15 million a year. Arizona and former Broncos’ longsnapper Mike Leach ranks sixth with a $1.09 million average.

The multiyear deal with Brewer was expected as he was eligible for restricted free agency, where the minimum right of first refusal tender is a tick below $1.6 million — or nearly 40 percent greater than what the highest-paid long snapper makes.

Brewer, 24, has been the Broncos’ longsnapper since 2012.

Steelers John Stallworth Authentic Jersey

It may be impossible to top what John Stallworth and Lynn Swann did in the 1970s for the Steelers. Both starting wide receivers are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame after playing nine seasons together.

Yet, those were not the glory days of wide receivers for the Steelers. These are those days.

Over the past 13 seasons, Steelers receiving records were broken and then shattered again by different men. Antonio Brown may have put those records out of reach last season when he led the NFL with 129 catches — second most in league history — for 1,698 yards. But if anyone can top those, it would be Brown.

Rules changes since the 1970s opened up the game more for passing and made it easier to go over the middle and not be roughed up running routes past 5 yards. Regardless, Brown, at just 26, has quickly established himself as one of the best receivers in team history and could be right at the top before he’s done.

As a sixth-round draft choice, he already is their greatest bargain since the NFL reduced its draft to seven rounds in 1994, and he could rival some other late-round gems from the 1970s.

Brown follows in the vein of other great and good receivers who have graced the Steelers roster in this century, from Hines Ward and Plaxico Burress to Santonio Holmes, Mike Wallace and Emmanuel Sanders.

Almost as smart as drafting Brown in the sixth round in 2010 was their signing him to a six-year contract in 2012 after Wallace turned down their offer for the final time.

All but Ward and Brown did not receive a second contract from the Steelers (except when Burress returned), but it has not stopped the team from continuing to find good, young receivers who keep flourishing, catching passes from Ben Roethlisberger in a true golden era at the position.

That may include one or two more now on the roster after Brown. The development of two more young receivers in 2014 gives the Steelers a trio that most any NFL team would love to have entering the 2015 season.

Markus Wheaton, becoming a starter in his second season and mostly injury free, caught 53 passes for 644 yards. Rookie Martavis Bryant, after not even being active for the first six games, exploded into the lineup by catching six touchdown passes in his first four games. Bryant finished with 26 receptions for 549 yards, a robust 21.1-yard average, and eight touchdowns. He added five more receptions for 61 yards and a touchdown in the playoff loss to Baltimore.

The Steelers thus go into the 2015 season with one great receiver and two good, young ones. Last season, they signed Lance Moore after the New Orleans Saints cut him to become their slot receiver, but he played only sparingly, catching just 14 passes after Justin Brown beat him out for the job initially. Brown since joined the Buffalo Bills.

Wheaton is the most likely receiver to move into the slot with Brown and Bryant on the outside when the offense uses three.

It’s a healthier situation for the Steelers this season at the position than it looked to be entering 2014 after they lost Jerricho Cotchery and Sanders in free agency and had virtually no experience at the position after Brown, except for Moore’s with the Saints.

Moore and his $1.5 million salary may be released soon, fulfilling his request. The Steelers will be able to find fourth and fifth receivers at half that price.

Maybe Dri Archer could be one of them. They listed him as a wide receiver/running back all of his rookie season, but hardly threw the ball to him as a wide receiver. He caught just seven passes, most of those operating in the backfield. It’s more likely he will remain a hybrid, though, and not be counted on to play as a fourth wideout. Veteran Darrius Heyward-Bey, signed last year to a one-year contract, won’t be back this season.

So the only things the Steelers really need to do at receiver is find a few more to fill out the offseason roster and make the team as No. 4 and No. 5 at the position, continue to develop Wheaton and Bryant — and keep throwing passes to Antonio Brown.