The Antonio Brown experience isn’t for everyone. We’ve seen four different teams move on from him since 2019, but the talented wide receiver is going to generate interest in NFL free agency this offseason. It all leads to the question, who will sign Antonio Brown?
While organizations do extensive background work on every free agent, Brown requires even more vetting. Ugly departures from the Pittsburgh Steelers, Las Vegas Raiders and Tampa Bay Buccaneers will take the 33-year-old weapon off the board for some clubs. However, it won’t stop others from pursuing him in free agency.
Brown’s next home requires a lot of specific circumstances. A quarterback who wants him, a team willing to put up with a lot of antics and a shared organizational focus on competing for a Super Bowl next season. For those reasons, it’s a shortlist of teams that are a realistic fit.
Let’s examine the best landing spots for Antonio Brown in 2022.
We know Lamar Jackson and Marquise Brown want the Baltimore Ravens to sign AB. Antonio Brown already made it clear this is the outcome he wants. He’d certainly fit inside the locker room and the chemistry with his potential teammates is already strong. So, it will all come down to whether or not the coaching staff and front office signs off on a deal.
For now, John Harbaugh and Eric DeCosta are against it. The franchise is prioritizing other needs it must address this offseason, expressing confidence in its young pass-catchers. While that’s the case in the present, the franchise quarterback’s wishes and an organizational aspiration to win a Super Bowl can change things. Brown makes this offense a lot better and with support from the players, this is the likeliest destination.
The Dallas Cowboys will rightfully prioritize Michael Gallup first. While he is recovering from a torn ACL, the organization remains very high on his talent and knows he can be a high-end No. 2 receiver in this offense. Even if he returns, though, there’s a distinct possibility Amari Cooper isn’t retained. For an offense that deployed three-receiver sets 67% of the time (Sharp Football Stats) it leaves a void to be filled.
There is certainly a risk for Dallas if it signs Brown. However, Jerry Jones is desperate for a Super Bowl and mounting frustrations over constant playoff heartbreak leads to more gambles. Brown is no longer an All-Pro receiver, but he remains a dangerous playmaker. If the Cowboys want to take an all-in approach, this is a risk worth taking on a one-year deal.
Everyone saw what happened to the Arizona Cardinals offense without DeAndre Hopkins. Kyler Murray held onto the football too long, Kliff Kingsbury couldn’t create a better game plan and the wide receivers couldn’t get open.
- Antonio Brown stats (2020-’21): 87 receptions, 1,028 receiving yards, 8 touchdowns in 15 games
There are certain things the Cardinals would need to keep in mind. Brown turned on Tom Brady, mocked his former team and seemingly burned bridges with teammates. However, he kept everything in check for a year and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers made the mistake of trying the same gamble twice. Brown would provide the Cardinals with a fantastic 1-2 combo at wide receiver for 2022, they can bail on him after that.
It seems like the Seattle Seahawks are running it back in 2022, one last run with Russell Wilson. Given the relationship between the franchise quarterback and front office is now in a better place, he might have a bigger voice in offseason moves. Given his affinity for Antonio Brown, a deal feels more possible than ever.
- Antonio Brown contract projection: 1 year, $7.5 million
Brown is comfortable being in a room loaded with talent at wide receiver. He made things work with Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, they all made each other better and everyone put up numbers. We could see a similar dynamic in Seattle, with opponents having no way to line up with Brown, Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf. If the Seahawks want to compete for the NFC West in 2022, signing Brown will help.