After some major drama over the past few years, seven-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Antonio Brown turned things around big time with the eventual Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2020.
The on-field numbers were not eye-opening. Brown, 32, caught 45 passes for 483 yards and four touchdowns in eight games. However, he found a tremendous relationship with quarterback Tom Brady off the field. It led to Brown keeping his nose clean in his personal life.
Despite this, Tampa Bay has not re-signed the star receiver after the first couple waves of NFL free agency. He remains one of the only big-name players on the market from the defending champs after they re-signed pretty much their entire core group. It also doesn’t look like the Buccaneers are in a hurry to bring Antonio Brown back.
“We’re just gonna take our time. There’s offers out there. We’ll see how it goes,” Buccaneers head coach Arians told reporters on Tuesday, via Grace Remington of WTSP.
To an extent, it makes sense. Tampa Bay already has starters Chris Godwin and Mike Evans on the roster. Meanwhile, Tyler Johnson showed promise as a rookie after being selected in the fifth round of the 2020 NFL Draft.
If Antonio Brown does not return to the Buccaneers, here’s a look at his five ideal destinations as NFL free agency continues into April.
Baltimore Ravens take a chance on Antonio Brown
Despite having just recently signed Sammy Watkins to a team-friendly contract, it’s not a secret that Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta is still looking to find former NFL MVP Lamar Jackson more weapons. Last season saw Marquise Brown lead all Ravens receivers with 58 catches. However, he struggled with drops and only caught 58% of his targets.
Depth is also somewhat of an issue here after the team’s second-leading pass catcher at wide receiver, Willie Snead, departed to the Las Vegas Raiders in free agency. It’s likely Brown will come on a team-friendly deal. We also know that Jackson had in the past campaigned for Baltimore to sign him. Could it happen soon?
Kansas City Chiefs need more help at wide receiver
Kansas City has done well to navigate through the offseason after earning a second consecutive Super Bowl appearance. Even then, there’s some concerns at wide receiver. This is one of the reasons that the Chiefs were in on JuJu Smith-Schuster before he re-signed with the conference-rival Pittsburgh Steelers. No, re-signing Demarcus Robinson does very little to change the dynamics here?
Could another former Steelers star head to Kansas City after Le’Veon Bell joined the team last season? It’s more than possible. It also has to be attractive to Antonio Brown given that he’d be going from catching passes from Tom Brady to being on the receiving end of missiles from Patrick Mahomes in Missouri. It almost makes too much sense.
San Francisco 49ers find rookie quarterback a target
We have no idea if an unnamed rookie quarterback will take over for Jimmy Garoppolo as the 49ers’ starter next season. Heck, there’s no telling whether Garoppolo will even be on the roster after San Francisco made a blockbuster move up to the No. 3 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. What we do know is that a talented young quarterback will be in a 49ers uniform next season.
Imagine the optics. This version of former Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields throwing to the likes of Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, George Kittle and Antonio Brown. All within the confines of Kyle Shanahan’s offense. It’s pretty much football porn in every possible way. Oh, and a certain recently re-signed 49ers star is already pimping this potential move.
Perfect fit with the Indianapolis Colts
General manager Chris Ballard has to find as many weapons as possible in order for the Carson Wentz trade to work out. Here’s a quarterback who tied for the league lead in interceptions with 15 a season ago. He’s going to need more than T.Y. Hilton and others currently on the Colts’ roster to turn things around.
Brown also seems to be an ideal fit in Frank Reich’s offense. He can still stretch the field, which is needed given Hilton’s downturn in production. Despite his struggles with the Eagles a season ago, Wentz still boasts one of the strongest arms in the NFL. This seems to be a perfect pairing.
Seattle Seahawks could go Antonio Brown shopping
Disgruntled quarterback Russell Wilson is already making a pitch for the Seahawks to sign Brown after he went to bat for another troubled receiver in Josh Gordon. Whether we’re sensing a theme here remains to be seen. What we do know is that Wilson wants more control over player personnel matters. What better way for the Seahawks to placate their franchise quarterback than adding Brown on the cheap?
On the field, this could also make a ton of sense. The idea of Brown joining D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett on the Seahawks’ receivers group has to be appealing to general manager John Schneider. Potentially keeping him away from the division-rival 49ers would just be icing on the cake.