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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers re-signed wide receiver Antonio Brown on Wednesday to a one-year deal worth up to $6.25 million and $3.1 million guaranteed, per NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.
Brown is a former All-Pro wideout whose personal conduct issues almost ended his NFL career. Last season, though, quarterback Tom Brady took Brown under his wing, and it wound up paying off in a big way.
Yes, this isn’t the massive payday Brown probably envisioned, but not many other teams would’ve taken a risk on him at this point. Brady and the Bucs know him better than most by now, and this deal really works out for both sides. Brown has incentives to earn more, but is on a team-friendly contract with a $2 million signing bonus that gives all parties flexibility beyond 2021.
Tampa Bay general manager Jason Licht has managed to retain every meaningful contributor to the Bucs’ Super Bowl LV run, and Brown is no exception.
Brown caught a touchdown pass from Brady in the Big Game, and in eight regular-season games, Brown had 45 receptions for 483 yards and four touchdowns.
But with the 2021 NFL Draft looming tomorrow night, what does Brown rejoining Tampa Bay mean for the team’s strategy?
Bucs mock draft: Prospects Tampa should target early after Antonio Brown news
- First round, 32nd pick: Jayson Oweh, EDGE, Penn State
- Second round, 64th pick: Kellen Mond, QB, Texas A&M
- Third round, 95th pick: Alim McNeill, iDL, NC State
This is just a scary good haul right here for Tampa Bay if it comes to pass — and it did in a quick simulation through The Draft Network.
Sure, Brady is going to be around for a little longer as he continues to defy all reasonable expectations, but it’s not too early to start planning ahead. Who better than Texas A&M’s Kellen Mond to be his eventual successor at the end of the second round?
Our top 100 prospects big board has Mond at 45th overall, which is tops among the second tier of QBs that also features Kyle Trask and Davis Mills. Mond was a four-year starter for the Aggies, hails from a pro-style offense and has shown steady improvement. Learning behind Brady for a year or two, then taking the reins is an ideal situation for him.
As for the other two picks, well, those selections are also with an eye toward the future. Jason Pierre-Paul hits free agency next offseason, and having an edge defender like Jayson Oweh who runs a 4.3-second 40-yard dash and is just an absolute athletic marvel is a luxury pick the Buccaneers should absolutely make if he’s still on the board.
Alim McNeill checks in at No. 56 on our big board, so between him, Mond and Oweh (30th), it seems Tampa Bay is getting value in each of the top three rounds in this scenario.
Because there’s still an opening for Antonio Brown to return beyond this coming season, and younger wideouts like Tyler Johnson and Scotty Miller are still in the fold for the foreseeable future, there’s no need for the Bucs to spend a Day 1 or Day 2 pick on a pass-catcher, unless a truly special talent falls to them.
As last year proved with the selection of Johnson and the year before with Miller, diamonds in the rough can be found in the draft at receiver. Heck, Brown was sixth-round pick once upon a time. Even if franchise tagged Chris Godwin player winds up leaving, there’s still a good amount of depth at the position group, led by Mike Evans.