Antonio Brown may never play another down in the NFL after leaving the field in the middle of Sunday’s game for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who officially released the wide receiver on Thursday. Brown has had plenty of chances to stick around in the league, yet he has had a controversial exit from all of the four teams he’s played for in his 12-year career.
Does Brown deserve another opportunity in the NFL after his latest actions? He may get another chance regardless. Per CBS Sports NFL Insider Josina Anderson, Brown has another job playing wide receiver in the NFL if he wants one. Basically, some team will take a chance at Brown even with all his transgressions.
Based on his play on the field, Brown has had a Hall of Fame career. He’s the only player in NFL history with six consecutive seasons of 100 catches and the only player to have six straight seasons of 100 catches and 1,000 receiving yards (Marvin Harrison is the closest with four straight). Brown has recorded 928 catches for 12,291 yards and 83 touchdowns — making seven Pro Bowls and earning first-team All-Pro honors four times. Brown had 42 catches for 545 yards and four touchdowns in just seven games in 2021 (with three 100-yard games), so he’s been productive when actually playing.
Distractions aside, teams seem to have an interest in adding Brown to their roster whenever he becomes available. Head coach Bruce Arians said after Sunday’s game that Brown is “no longer a Buc,” but teams that have an interest in him wouldn’t be able to use him until next season at the earliest.
These four teams could use Brown in 2022, all of which appear to have had prior interest in Brown at some point.
The Ravens showed interest in Brown before he signed with the Buccaneers in 2020, back when Baltimore had one of the worst wide receiver groups in the NFL. Baltimore has improved at the position since, starting with the emergence of Marquise Brown (who is Brown’s cousin) and the progress of rookie Rashod Bateman.
If Baltimore wants a veteran wideout to pair with its young receivers, Brown could fit the mold. The Ravens do have a solid pass catching group, however, starting with Mark Andrews at tight end, so perhaps they pass on pursuing Brown this time around.
The Seahawks were another team interested in signing Brown before he went to the Buccaneers. Russell Wilson, who has worked out with Brown for several offseasons, has vouched for him in the past, saying the Seahawks have the culture to work with him and that Seattle “is a place that he’ll grow a lot as a man as well.”
If the Seahawks have an interest in keeping Wilson beyond this season, perhaps bringing Brown in will be a way for Wilson to stick around. Brown also may end up going wherever Wilson goes if Wilson has a say in the personnel he wants for his offense.
Before Brown’s blow-up with the Raiders and all the problems that have ensued since Washington had an interest in trading for him after the 2018 season. Washington didn’t seem to mind Brown’s spats with Ben Roethlisberger and the coaching staff, but would the Football Team feel the same way with Ron Rivera in charge? Washington does need help at wide receiver outside of Terry Mclaurin, who is the only pass catcher with over 400 yards on the Football Team this year.
The Saints always seem to be in the market for a veteran wide receiver, signing notable names like Dez Bryant, Kenny Stills and Chris Hogan over the last few years as more experience for young wide receiver groups. None of those signings panned out, but the Saints have tried to bring in veterans to help out Michael Thomas (who didn’t play this season due to injury).
The Saints may take a look at Brown as New Orleans was 4-2 before Jameis Winston tore his ACL and was lost for the season. Bringing in Brown may be enough to give New Orleans an edge in beating the Buccaneers (which they do in the regular season anyway) and reclaim the division. Given the uncertainty of Thomas’ injury, signing Brown would be a similar move to those the Saints have tried to make in the past.
New Orleans doesn’t have a single receiver over 700 yards this season, but is Brown even worth the risk? Brown did workout with the Saints in 2019, but he called it a “publicity stunt.” That may have ruffled the feathers of head coach Sean Payton, who may not want to give him another chance.
Brown may want to sign with the Saints for the opportunity to face the Buccaneers twice a year, but that opportunity with New Orleans, like many other teams, may have passed.
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