Not many uncertainties remain for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in free agency, but one of them is what will become of WR Antonio Brown. After signing a half-season deal to join the Bucs midway through the 2020 season, Brown is once again a free agent, but could have limited options due to his ongoing legal situation stemming from accusations of sexual assault and rape. On the Pat McAfee Show, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport expressed his belief that Brown will be back with the Bucs for the 2021 season.

“My guess is he ends up back in Tampa,” Rapoport said. “Not saying it’s definitely going to happen, but Brady wants him back, I think he wants to be there, and it’s also just – how much money can they come up with?”

Wondering how much cap space the Bucs can create is a common refrain this offseason, but Brown won’t be the one to test that part of the equation. After re-signing major free agents like OLB Shaq Barrett, LB Lavonte David, TE Rob Gronkowski and franchise-tagging WR Chris Godwin, the Bucs won’t have any issue creating the $2-3 million needed to sign Brown. The difference is the type of money Tampa Bay may be willing to offer Brown, compared to another, more desperate team like Seattle.

“If Antonio Brown is going to get a real legit deal from the Seahawks, then he might have to go because his deal with Tampa Bay is going to be a little bit of a prove-it type of situation,” Rapoport said. “If Seattle is going to say, ‘we believe you, we trust you, we’re going to give you real money’, not like incentive-laden, then maybe he goes. But Tampa wants him back, Brady wants him there. That means a lot, so my guess is he ends up back in Tampa.”

In a recent Instagram Live, Brown told fans that “Me and Playoff Lenny (fellow free agent RB Leonard Fournette) gonna work this out”, indicating his desire to return to the Bucs if possible.

Brown, who will be 33 in July, caught 45 passes for 483 yards and four touchdowns in eight games last season, and added two more scores in the playoffs. His ability to play all three wide receiver spots (depending on the situation) and create separation vertically as well as underneath was a huge asset to the Bucs receiving corps. Brown’s biggest impact may have come as a post-catch threat that Brady could get the ball to on screens as a pressure-beater option for the Bucs’ offense.

The Bucs still have 14 unsigned free agents, including Brown, Fournette, DT Ndamukong Suh, CB Ross Cockrell and backup QB Blaine Gabbert.

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About the Author: Jon Ledyard

Jon Ledyard is PewterReport.com's newest Bucs beat writer and has experience covering the Pittsburgh Steelers as a beat writer and analyzing the NFL Draft for several draft websites, including The Draft Network. Follow Ledyard on Twitter at @LedyardNFLDraft
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surferdudes
4 months ago

Isn’t Seattle also pursuing Lenny? Maybe Seattle wants both of them, and is willing to pay more then us. Don’t kid yourself, this would be the last contract for both. They have a ring, they want the money. I say out of all our FA’s, these two would be the ones we can let go. Don’t over pay for them, easily replaced.

Chiizy613
Reply to  surferdudes
4 months ago

they already signed Carson back as starting RB, Lenny is off the table for Seattle

Spitfire
Reply to  surferdudes
4 months ago

I agree. I am good with both of them being here but we should pay any more than they made last year. Brown obviously adds to the receiving Corp and if we brought back Fournette but also brought in White then great, but if it’s Fournette over White then no go. We absolutely need a pass catching back this year. So we either need to bring in White or someone in the first 3 rounds that can play right away. I like RoJo running way better so Fournette should only be seen as an insurance policy.

Naplesfan
Reply to  Spitfire
4 months ago

Fournette most certainly IS a pass catching back. He led the entire league in this past season’s playoffs in all purpose yards. That is the epitomy of a pass catching running back.

Dave
Reply to  Naplesfan
4 months ago

Well the entire league didn’t play in the playoffs. Only playoff teams played in the playoffs. And he was the only RB that started 4 playoff games. So I would hope he’d lead all playoff RB’s in scrimmage yards. But if you think he’s a good pass catcher, I don’t know what to tell you. You’re watching a different Leonard Fournette than the rest of the country is. He’s a horrible pass catcher. Just because someone can physically catch the ball, and for some crazy reason, always gets a ton of targets, doesn’t make him a good pass catcher. He… Read more »

stlbucsfan
4 months ago

Pay AB his money and bring him back, Lenny i’d let walk. AB had 45 passes, 500 yard and 4 scores in a half season, his value is obvious given the annual injuries to our WRs. The RBs that will be available in the draft will be better values. I’d rather see us resign AB, draft a RB and create some room for Dunlap, Clowney or another edge rusher to spell JPP and create a 3 man rotation at DE.

ScottC543
Reply to  stlbucsfan
4 months ago

I agree. AB produced last year, and most of the production came later in the season, as the chemistry and timing came together. He’ll be better next year than this, and IMO will be a real weapon.

Fournette is half the runner Rojo is (but may be twice the receiver). Fournette goes down on first contact way too often, and he lacks the speed to be a true open-field threat. Keep him if he doesn’t expect to strike it rich. Otherwise, bring in someone else, FA or rookie.

drdneast
Reply to  ScottC543
4 months ago

Lenny looked pretty fast on that long TD run against the Panthers and on that 20 odd yard SB TD run against the Chiefs.
I’d like to see both return, especially Brown. He is lightning quick in and out of his breaks and can also get you YAC.
When Fournette puts his heart into it, (See SB Chiefs game) he can be a true power back who can be a load to take down. Unfortunately Lenny has his own switch as to when to use that power back status.

Naplesfan
Reply to  ScottC543
4 months ago

Fournette is twice the runner RoJo is. He way outproduced RoJo after he finally got some snaps after the bye week when RoJo was unavailable due to injury, and demonstrated his hands of stone.
Fournette was our most productive player on offense after the bye week, and led the enire NFL in all purpose yards throughout the playoffs – the games that matter most, when RoJo was invisible.

Naplesfan
Reply to  stlbucsfan
4 months ago

Fournette was the most productive player on our entire offense after the bye week, and he led the entire league in all purpose yards in the Super Bowl winning playoffs.
And you’d “let him walk”?
That’s just plain stupid.

Last edited 4 months ago by Naplesfan
Dave
Reply to  Naplesfan
4 months ago

He absolutely positively was NOT our most productive player after the bye. He probably just makes the top 5. AB, Godwin, and Evans were clearly more productive after the bye. And you can argue Gronk as well. Fournette blows. You have a really warped and distorted view of how good LF is. He had 3 good games all season. 2 of them just happened to be in the playoffs. The only thing that stopped Rojo from outproducing LF in the playoffs was more touches. Rojo was better at every single point of the season on a per carry basis. LF… Read more »

Last edited 4 months ago by Dave
Dave
Reply to  Dave
4 months ago

Here’s LF and Rojo’s game logs after the bye. LF) WK15 – 14 cry 49 yds(3.5) 3 rec 16 yds WK16 – 9 cry 34 yds(3.8) 3 rec 32 yds WK17 – 5 cry 13 yds(2.6) 2 rec 14 yds WC – 19 cry 93 yds(4.9) 4 rec 39 yds. DR – 17 cry 63 yds(3.7) 5 rec 44 yds NFC CG – 12 cry 55 yds(4.6) 5 rec 19 yds SB – 16 cry 89 yds(5.6) 4 rec 46 yds Rojo) WK14 – 18 cry 80 yds(4.4) rec 4 yds WK17 – 12 cry 78 yds(6.5) DR – 13… Read more »

Last edited 4 months ago by Dave
Dave
Reply to  Naplesfan
4 months ago

So I googled the most relevant stats you can have for a RB. And I’m going to post them here, so you can see that Rojo is a better RB. And just how lopsided it really is. Out of the 11 most important stats, Rojo is better in 9 out of 11. And a handful of the stats, he’s significantly better LF) YPC – 3.9 YPR – 7.3 YPT – 4.5 TD/CRY – TD every 33.2 cry 1ST DWN/CRY – 1D every 5.1 cry BRKN TCK/CRY – BT every 26 cry CATCH% – 77% YAC/REC – 2 BRKN TCK/REC –… Read more »

Last edited 4 months ago by Dave
stlbucsfan
Reply to  Naplesfan
4 months ago

Yea he definitely wasnt our most productive offensive player lol but its cute to say. If we can bring them all back then fine but Im not prioritizing a RB over another pass rusher. Our defense took off with a consistent rush and we need to make sure we do everything possible to keep QBs under pressure. History has shown us that you can draft the right RB and he can come in and contribute. Considering where we are drafting we are more likely to get a RB that can contribute at that spot vs a pass rusher so it… Read more »

76bucsfan46
Reply to  stlbucsfan
4 months ago

I think your right on the money. AB has short area quickness and good long speed. Fournette is ok but I get the sense that he doesn’t give max effort every down like he did in the playoffs. James White as a compliment to ROJO is all we need.

Alldaway 2.0
4 months ago

Bucs have options so they can choose to take their time.

Horse
4 months ago

I believe we have addressed our most important Free Agents. I would rather sign younger free agents at this point who aren’t at the end of the road.

Naplesfan
4 months ago

As I’ve maintained throughout this free agency process, the goal of all Bucs who were on the roster as of the playoffs recently completed all wanted to come back for another shot at another ring. They also don’t want to have to switch teams, because that always incurs a considerable cost that doesn’t show up in salary or signing bonuses – moving costs, possible income tax implications, climate (Seattle???), friends, and of course, having to work into a new playbook and a brand new set of teammates and coaches. Nobody comes in as a new free agent without some dislocation… Read more »

Last edited 4 months ago by Naplesfan
Runole
Reply to  Naplesfan
4 months ago

Agree with Naples Keep them both which IMO is what both parties want.Draft a rb in the first 2 rounds for the future.