As the Buccaneers keep a large part of the band together, a key in-season arrival remains available.
Receiver Antonio Brown, one of the best receivers in football until his career went and stayed sideways two years ago, got his life under control in 2020, served an eight-game suspension, and became a key contributor down the stretch for the Buccaneers, ultimately winning his first Super Bowl ring.
With receiver Chris Godwin staying put thanks to the franchise tag and other competent pass-catchers on the roster like Mike Evans, Scotty Miller, and Tyler Johnson, the question becomes whether another team will decide to dangle for Brown a more secure spot on the depth chart — and the money that would go along with it.
He showed in 2020 that he indeed has better angels and that there’s a way to speak to them. The question is whether Tom Brady is the only person who currently knows the language.
Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson has clamored for Brown in the past, as has Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson. The Packers reportedly poked around the idea of signing Brown last year before he did his deal in Tampa Bay.
Brown has kept a very low profile since the Buccaneers won the Super Bowl early last month. He hasn’t gotten in trouble in months. He deserves credit for getting things under control.
The question is whether he thinks he deserves more money and a greater role than what he had in Tampa last year. Although a civil lawsuit alleging sexual assault and rape is still pending, trial won’t happen until December. The possibility that he’ll give sworn pre-trial deposition testimony that (based on his antics in a lawsuit filed over an apartment he allegedly trashed several years back) could turn embarrassing at best and disastrous at worst makes a long-overdue settlement of the claim even more advisable.
All things considered, it will be interesting to see whether some other team becomes intrigued by Brown’s unexpected run of good behavior and considers giving him a bigger profile and role than the Bucs possibly will be able to offer.