The PewterReport.com Roundtable features the opinions of the PR staff as it tackles a topic each week that involves the Bucs.

This week’s topic: Should The Bucs Re-Sign Antonio Brown?

Scott Reynolds: It’s Time To Move On From Brown

I understand why the Bucs signed troubled wide receiver Antonio Brown last year. Bucs general manager Jason Licht and head coach Bruce Arians remember the disastrous end of the 2019 season. That’s when Tampa Bay was 7-7 and Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Scotty Miller all missed the last two games of the season due to hamstring injuries. Jameis Winston was left to throw the ball to Breshad Perriman, Justin Watson and a couple of guys signed off the street in late December. Brown was signed as an insurance policy in case the Bucs suffered those types of injuries again at the receiver position down the stretch. He wound up being a productive No. 3 receiver instead, catching valuable touchdowns at Washington in the playoffs and against Kansas City in Super Bowl LV.

Bucs WR Antonio Brown

Bucs WR Antonio Brown – Photo by: USA Today

Brown served his purpose in helping the Bucs win a Super Bowl. It’s time to move on. Licht and Arians won their gamble – that Brown wouldn’t do anything stupid off the field to force Tampa Bay to cut him or disrupt team chemistry. Now it’s time to cash out and walk away from the table with the winnings. Staying at the table and inviting Brown, who still has a civil suit pending involving sexual assault, back to the Bucs for one more year is a recipe to lose all those winnings. I remember another controversial receiver torpedoing Tampa Bay’s chances to repeat after winning its first Super Bowl in 2002. While Keyshawn Johnson and Brown don’t have the same issues, I would hate to see history repeat itself.

While Brown was a nice addition last year, it’s clear from his 10.7 average during the last eight games of the regular season and his 10.1 average in the postseason that Brown, who will turn 33 in July, isn’t the same big-time play-maker he was earlier in his career at Pittsburgh. Having Brown around in 2021 will further stunt the growth of promising young wide receivers like Miller and Tyler Johnson, the team’s fifth-round pick last year. I know high-character guys like Miller and Johnson won’t present a problem for the Bucs off the field, and I’m excited to see what their potential is with more reps. Those reps won’t come with Brown back for another year.

Mark Cook: Nope, He’s A Volcano Waiting to Erupt

I don’t think anyone can question the talent of Brown. Even at the age of 32 (33 when the season starts), he is a dangerous football player who has amassed 11,746 yards and 84 touchdowns as a receiver in the NFL. You don’t do that by accident. But as dangerous as he is on the field, he is just as dangerous off the field. I just have the feeling he is a powder keg ready to explode.

WR Antonio Brown – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Brown’s legal trouble, along with his personal conduct issues, are well documented. I am all about second chances, even third chances sometimes. But how many is this for Brown? He was far from a model citizen in Pittsburgh, got into a physical altercation with Mike Mayock during a brief stint with the Raiders because of a helmet (really Antonio?), has had allegations of sexual misconduct made against him and then there is the incident down in Miami last year prior to coming the Buccaneers where he was accused of vandalism. Sure, he stayed away from any controversy in his half of a season with Tampa Bay last year, but is the “new and improved” AB, the real Antonio Brown?

Brown isn’t the future in Tampa Bay and everyone knows that. And the longer he is on the roster the less development guys like Scotty Miller and Tyler Johnson will get. The Buccaneers are loaded on offense and yes, I realize that injuries can happen and you can’t have too many talented receivers. But as Scott Reynolds said above, we all remember the Keyshawn Johnson soap opera in 2003 and while the situations are somewhat different, it would be a shame to see another volatile wide receiver create drama and derail another Super Bowl run. Move on Buccaneers before the volcano erupts.

Jon Ledyard: AB Clearly Makes Bucs More Dangerous, But Might Not Be Worth The Hassle

Ethically, I would never advocate for the rostering of Antonio Brown until at least after his legal situation has been rectified. I’m not saying he’s guilty, but I am saying I’m not willing to take the risk of employing him given what he has been accused of (rape, sexual assault), especially when there’s all the other off-field issues in his recent past as well. I know he behaved himself publicly for a couple months with the Bucs in-season, but this is a different situation now.

Bucs WR Antonio Brown

Bucs WR Antonio Brown – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Now Brown has an entire offseason between his re-signing and his return to the team’s facility and structure on a regular basis. That’s cause for concern given Brown’s recent history, especially if he’s seeking any type of guaranteed money or a substantial raise. As talented as he is, and Brown’s presence on the field undoubtedly makes the Bucs a more dangerous football team, with everything the Bucs have going for them, I’m just not sure he’s worth the hassle.

It seems the Bucs would like Brown back, but only for the right price, which I can’t imagine is much more than he made last season. I also doubt Brown is getting anything better in his offers from other teams, which is why he remains unsigned. That’s a good indication the Bucs have played this exactly right, and they shouldn’t budge an inch for a guy like Brown. If he wants to come to the team for a heavily incentivized contract that basically says he can’t screw up or he’s gone, from a business perspective that makes sense for Tampa Bay. But he’s not the kind of person you move money around to get back on your team. If AB moves on, I think the Bucs will be just fine with Scotty Miller and Tyler Johnson.

Matt Matera: Brown Should Be Here If It’s For The Right Price

The Bucs have been able to re-sign everyone this offseason as they go for two straight Super Bowls, so why stop with Antonio Brown? A player of his talent should be back, but only if it’s for the right price. Once he got going after returning to the NFL, you could see the effect that Brown has on the field as he recorded 483 yards in eight games with four touchdowns. Though he got injured early in the Divisional round of the postseason, causing him to also miss the NFC Championship game, he still managed to score a touchdown in both the wild card round and Super Bowl LV.

Bucs WR Antonio Brown

Bucs WR Antonio Brown – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Obviously there’s a lot of baggage that comes with Brown, but re-signing him would once again make sure that the Bucs have the best wide receiver unit in the league. Because of his history, it’s prevented other teams from showing their interest in him, at least that we know of, and only the Seattle Seahawks have been linked as a possible destination for Brown. I don’t think eight regular season games and playoff run to winning the Super Bowl is enough to restore his image, but in a way that helps the Bucs at the negotiating table.

Tampa Bay should be looking to sign him for anywhere between three to five million. Anything other than that and you wish him well in his future endeavors. I understand that many think he’s a ticking time bomb waiting to go off, and for any other team I would agree with that. I believe his friendship with Tom Brady would be able to keep him on the straight and narrow. You can’t balk on a chance to bring back a player as good as Brown if it’s for the right price, and if not, you roll with Scotty Miller and Tyler Johnson. The Bucs should feel confident with them in an elevated role as well.

Taylor Jenkins: The Bucs Have Already Accepted The Risks That Come With Brown’s Exceptional Talent

Asking if you should re-sign Antonio Brown is a bit of a complicated question. As far as talent goes, he proved in the later stages of the 2020 season that he’s still in his prime and could potentially continue to be one of the most fearsome receivers in the NFL. Especially with a full offseason with the Bucs. But, as is always the question with Brown, can he continue to limit his off-the-field issues? Despite staying out of the public eye for most of last season, sometimes he feels like a ticking time bomb where you’re just waiting to wake up and see him in a headline. Not to mention, he still has pending legal issues that come with serious allegations.

Bucs WR Antonio Brown

Bucs WR Antonio Brown – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

But all-in-all, the Bucs rolled the dice on the ultra-talented receiver in 2020 and it seems clear that they’re willing to roll the dice on him again this year. So then it all comes down to the money. Despite having a plethora of offensive stars in Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Rob Gronkowski, O.J. Howard, Scotty Miller, Tyler Johnson and Cam Brate all under contract, a team really can’t ever have too many weapons. This was made clear in 2019 when the Bucs finished their season without both Evans and Godwin and was again made clear in 2020 when a number of injuries, including a season-ending injury to Howard, plagued Tampa Bay over the first half of season and led to Brown’s signing in the first place. And Brown, showing that he’s still playing in his prime, could very well be the best talent out of them all.

So what is he worth? Veteran receivers Sammy Watkins, Keelan Cole, Emmanuel Sanders and T.Y. Hilton all signed one-year deals this offseason that landed between $5 and $8 million for 2021 and maybe Brown is looking at those contracts and wanting something in that price range. But with the issues that have followed his personal life for years and Tampa Bay’s salary cap space shrinking, those are lofty expectations and it doesn’t seem as though other teams are exactly knocking down the door for his services right now. If the Bucs can get him to sign somewhere in the $2-$3 million range with some incentives that potential push the number between $4 and $5 million, knowing that Tampa Bay is willing to take the risk, Brown would be worth every penny on the field.

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Captain Sly
2 months ago

I see it differently fellas! Antonio Brown is a weapon and so just like when we signed Fournette off the street we essentially blocked New Orleans or the Packer from using him against us in the playoffs. Licht was loading our roster while simultaneously disarming our competition. AB with Drew Brees would have been lethal and I’m glad I don’t have to think about stopping Fournette with Green Bay this year. So it’s not always about how he makes you better but sometimes it’s about your competitors. Cheers

Sheldon
Reply to  Captain Sly
2 months ago

I 100% agree. There’s nothing else for me to say.

76Buc
Reply to  Sheldon
2 months ago

Yep. Agree.

AlbJack65
Reply to  Captain Sly
2 months ago

Yes, he is a weapon. But if you can throw a live grenade into your enemy’s camp by not holding onto it yourself, that is also an advantage. Unstable weapons tend to backfire. Brown is without a doubt an unstable weapon.

Captain Sly
Reply to  AlbJack65
2 months ago

Be careful because so far that “live grenade” has helped two different franchises win Super Bowls!

Dave
Reply to  Captain Sly
2 months ago

No offense, but Fournette, if he was on the Packers, would have barely seen the field. He clearly wasn’t getting snaps over Jones. And I think Williams is much more effective as a pass catcher, and blocker. Plus, the Packers, in the Rodgers era, have been known to junk the run and let Rodgers play hero ball in the playoffs. Which is why he has 1 SB appearance to show for. So LF on the Packers would have made zero difference in how far they went

Pete Wood
2 months ago

Yes, we should resign him. But only for the right price. No way he should get more than Lenny who had a better year than he did

aredsoxfan1
Reply to  Pete Wood
2 months ago

Has nothing to do with what a RB got paid. apples and oranges

Dave
Reply to  aredsoxfan1
2 months ago

Exactly. It’s like saying Kamara should get more than Tannehill, because he had a better season. While true, that he had a better season….the difference between what a top half of the league QB gets paid versus a top 3 back, is still 2:1. 2 completely different positions. QB’s are easily considered the most valuable position. RB’s are near the bottom as far as how valued they are on the pay scale

JSW
JSW
Reply to  Pete Wood
2 months ago

Any deal has to allow the Bucs an out if his conduct becomes detrimental to the team.

drdneast
2 months ago

The Bucs can structure a no risk contract to them that pays AB close to the going rate for a player of his age and skill level if they have the money. He many not be the burner that he used to be but he is extremely quick coming out of his breaks and can get you extra YAC so why not sign him if you have the money. If he gets in trouble in the future you have no risk because you have structured a contract to protect yourself. In no way is this like the Keyshawn Johnson situation.… Read more »

76Buc
Reply to  drdneast
2 months ago

Yep. Meshawn was an idiot.

Runole
Reply to  drdneast
2 months ago

AGREE!

stlbucsfan
2 months ago

AB should definitely be back. If you take his numbers over a full season he would’ve had 90 catches and 1k yards receiving with no offseason. His impact is obvious and on a 1 year deal we can afford to give him a small pay bump. He’s definitely more valuable than Cam Brate whose earning 6M. All in means keeping your best and AB is clearly one of those players for us.

obuc
2 months ago

Brown isn’t a Buc. He’s a hired gun. You treat it with that same lack of loyalty and same business-like approach. He is there to maybe win one game more to change your seeding but you have to assume you might only have him for twelve weeks.

chefboho
2 months ago

I’m kind of torn on this one. I like AB on this team and think with a full offseason he could be a lot more useful then even last year. You say his 10 yards a reception shows a decline, but I think that’s due to a lot of his routes being underneath, screens, etc. He wasn’t getting the Hail Mary’s that Evans, Miller, and Godwin were. If they could get him for 3/4 mil then I’d love to see him back. Now the one thing that holds me back a little is my desire to see what Scotty Miller… Read more »

Last edited 2 months ago by chefboho
aredsoxfan1
Reply to  chefboho
2 months ago

They couldn’t sign him for “3/4mil” even if they wanted to. The vet minimum for him is $1.075mil. He got paid $2mil for half a season last year.

ScottC543
Reply to  aredsoxfan1
2 months ago

Um, I think he meant 3 – 4M, not 3/4M. ICBW

Emilio
2 months ago

What I haven’t heard in the discussion is that AB is the only dynamic receiver the team had with the ball in his hands. I love Evans, but he catches the ball and looks for a place to fall down. CG is very good, but doesn’t make guys miss. Scotty is limited to the odd long bomb, as long as it’s uncontested. He is useless in traffic. AB is the only one who is good on reverses, routinely makes guys miss , and can take it to the house on a screen. We need him.

Good wins with Godwin
Reply to  Emilio
2 months ago

This is complete BS. Godwin is one of the best YAC artists in the league. He is more dangerous with the ball in his hands than AB at this point in their careers. Evans is usually facing double teams and bracket coverage, so he’s not “falling down” but the opposing defense is expending a bunch of resources to keep him contained. In the rare opportunities he has with space, he does things like, oh I don’t know, take over the Washington game or force his way into the endzone carrying dbs in the wind like rally flags. Oh, and don’t… Read more »

AlbJack65
2 months ago

No. Let him go. Miller, Johnson, and Watson need the reps. Pick up the Tampa native Whop Philyor in the middle rounds of the draft to compete for a spot. I’m not a draft expert, but that young man seems to have a passion for the game. A phone call from Bruce Arians in the 3rd round asking him if he wants to come back home and catch passes from Tom Brady would probably set him on fire.

Horse
2 months ago

Yes, I would sign; I’m sure Licht knows how to structure the contrate that will satisfy both Parties.

Runole
2 months ago

YES! The BUCS should resign Brown if the price is right.

To err is human; to forgive, divine

Too much sanctimonious BS from his detractors. His short leash remains in place.
Not a big deal if he gets cut later. Brown was on the road of redemption last season. Let it continue. Question? Are the Bucs better at receiver with Brown on the team? Answer a resounding YES!

JSW
JSW
2 months ago

I understand the argument that resigning AB would stunt the growth of Tyler Johnson by virtue of reduced touches. While that is true, Tyler Johnson, as good as he is, is not likely to become a Hall of Fame caliber receiver – which is exactly what AB is. The only reason(s) AB was only averaging ten yards a catch is because of the role they have him playing (and time to get up to speed after a year off). Look what he did in week 17 after he was forced to step into Mike Evans role. Viola! All Pro numbers.… Read more »

fredster
2 months ago

I’ve already commented on this, but to me If price is right for Bucs, and the deal is structured to where they can part ways easily, then maybe. Overall I say he’s not worth the risk though. Bucs got good production for money and no issues but was half season. I’d Count myself lucky and would not push my luck. He’s a complete nut job and he will likely have more issues. Then there is the pending legal stuff.

Dman
Reply to  fredster
2 months ago

Yup.

aredsoxfan1
2 months ago

Disagree with the roundtable, I want AB. Getting up there in age but he is still dynamic. And he meshes better with Brady than anyone else on the roster. Give him Brate’s money in a heartbeat, no idea why Brate is still scheduled to earn $6.5mil next year. I like Brate but his salary is way over his market value. Can’t get sentimental if we want to stay on top.

The Freeman
2 months ago

no problem with AB back, just need to structure a deal with limited guaranteed money and per game incentives… in 2003, who was the 4th and 5th receivers? + Keyshawn was your first target and only McCardell was a 1-2, today we have Evans/Godwin + Gronk/Howard at TE. who wants to play the seahawks during post-season with Wilson throwing the ball to DK, AB or Lockett, when the bucs have Gronk or OJ on IR and Evans or Godwin pulling a hamstring the previous week? we’re loaded, that’s why you can afford drama and diva à la Keyshawn/AB. our offense… Read more »

scubog
2 months ago

I suspect the Bucs organization has already conducted similar round table discussions regarding Antonio Brown and every other potential addition to the roster. Unlike us, those folks really have a stake in the the eventual success or failure of their opinions. Like most new hires, Antonio was on his best behavior knowing he was on probation and still a bit humbled by his situation. My concern is that once he believes in his mind, that he is entrenched and has “tenure”, will he eventually morph back into the “Bad Bad Antonio Brown” who joined the Raiders after my hometown Steelers… Read more »

Dman
Reply to  scubog
2 months ago

You had me up until …”Ok being brought back”…
As you pointed out AB was on his best behavior las season. Coming back there gets to be a competition for targets. Where do Evans and Godwin fit into this. At some point it boils over and I see AB being a locker room problem knowing Tom’s in his corner – look who made sure he got to 45 reps last season.
We’ve got great talent at WR. Let AB move on.

Naplesfan
Reply to  scubog
2 months ago

I don’t know why this is even a topic of what the Bucs “should” do. The Bucs have already decided the matter – they made a contract offer to Brown. It is still in negotiation, and either Brown will accept this offer, or possibly negotiate something more acceptable, or he’ll turn down the offer.
That train has already left the station. The Bucs want Brown back. How much they want him back is reflected in the contract offer which none of us have access to, including the writers at PR.

surferdudes
2 months ago

As the late great Kenny Rogers sang, know when to hold em, know when to fold em. I agree with PR on this one. The Bucs look great giving him a chance, it paid off, but now’s a good time to look to younger players. Someone said Tyler Johnson isn’t going to be a HOFer. Though I agree, no one would’ve thought Ronde Barber was HOF type player after one year either. Most thought he’d be cut. Then there’s the draft, not a need, but I see us drafting a receiver who can return kicks. If we take one of… Read more »

jongruden
2 months ago

Like I said on other posts I don’t want him back he is a head case and ticking time bomb waiting to happen, what game did he take over last yr? Do fans actually think we can’t win a bowl without Brown even though we have Evans, Godwin, MIller , Johnson, Gronk, Howard etc etc I don’t understand fans I really don’t lol

ScottC543
2 months ago

The simple fact is that at the end of the year, other than the time he missed with injury, Brown was a go-to guy for Brady. Brady trusts Brown, and Brown (while not as fast as he once was) can still get open in the blink of Brady’s eye, and can make the play with the ball in his hands if it’s needed. Like the consensus here says, sign AB for a reasonable amount but keep the leash very short, with an easy out for the Bucs for malfeasance on Brown’s part, and let Miller or Vaughn beat him out… Read more »

scubog
Reply to  ScottC543
2 months ago

Exactly. Throw him in the mix of wide receivers and let them all compete.