Arizona has gotten much-needed momentum in the final stretch of the season after beating the Dallas Cowboys on the road as an underdog despite missing valuable pieces on both sides of the ball.
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But probably the biggest and most earth-shattering news of the Week 17 slate was Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown taking his jersey off and leaving the field during his own football game.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians spoke after the game and was confident about Brown’s future with Tampa.
“He is no longer a Buc,” Arians said. “That’s the end of the story. Let’s talk about the guys who went out there and won the game.”
While it’s extremely unlikely Brown will never wear a Bucs jersey ever again, the Buccaneers haven’t officially released Brown.
CBS NFL insider Josina Anderson also doesn’t rule out Brown playing in the NFL in the future.
“If Antonio Brown wants a job on another team in the NFL, he can have one,” says Anderson. “That is not an opinion. That is what I know.”
Tampa would not want Brown to land on a playoff contender, which isn’t out of the question according to Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio, who said, “nothing secures second chances like talent.”
This leaves us with the number one question. Who will go after the polarizing figure?
Brown to the NFC West?
CBS Sports writer Jeff Kerr has linked the Seahawks as a potential landing spot for the 33-year-old receiver.
“The Seahawks were another team interested in signing Brown before he went to the Buccaneers,” said Kerr. “Russell Wilson, who has worked out with Brown for several offseasons, has vouched for him in the past, saying the Seahawks have the culture to work with him and that Seattle ‘is a place that he’ll grow a lot as a man as well.’”
The Ravens, Saints and Washing Football Team were also linked to Brown and are “all of which appear to have had prior interest in Brown at some point.”
But none of the options are overwhelmingly appealing. The Seahawks are facing concerns about losing Wilson, who already expressed issues with the franchises before their current 6-10 season in 2021.
“If the Seahawks have an interest in keeping Wilson beyond this season, perhaps bringing Brown in will be a way for Wilson to stick around,” said Kerr. “Brown also may end up going wherever Wilson goes if Wilson has a say in the personnel he wants for his offense.”
Brown would sign for the veteran’s minimum, as he’s playing on a base salary of under $1 million for the Bucs in 2021. It could be appealing for Wilson to stay in Seattle with a wide receiver group of DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett and Antonio Brown in 2022.
Seattle could grant Wilson’s wishes, who wanted the All-Pro receiver to play in Seattle back in October of 2020, via Lindsey Wisniewski of NBC Sports Northwest.
“Most of the conversations I’ve had with most of his former teammates and stuff like that said that he worked hard every day,” Wilson said. “He came ready, and I think he had a bad year or two there that didn’t go the way you want it to. I think that with our culture and how our culture is, with Coach Carroll, with the teammates that we have, the men that we have and the growth, I think, if he does play football, I think this is a great place. If he does play again, I think this is a place that he’ll grow a lot as a man as well.”
Brown’s future destination will most certainly not be with Arizona.
Brown’s Current Situation
Brown has played with the Pittsburgh Steelers, New England Patriots, Las Vegas Raiders and Buccaneers and has shut the door on all of them. Suspensions, investigations with the law and locker room misconduct have been continued headaches for teams.
However, Brown’s talent can’t be denied. The Bucs took a shot and won a Super Bowl with Brown in the 2020 season. He’s been one of the team’s leading receivers with 87 receptions, 1,028 yards and eight touchdowns in 15 games.
Because of Brown’s reputation, he isn’t getting the benefit of the doubt. But Brown has a defense for leaving the field at Met Life Stadium on January 2.
According to Buccaneers’ insider Rick Stroud, “Antonio’s friends were worried about the pain he was experiencing so they encouraged him to see a top surgeon outside the Bucs’ organization. That visit and an MRI confirm his serious pain and that story is developing.”
The Bucs have also remained quiet, per Stroud.
Going after Brown’s services could be a risk worth taking for some franchises, but could also mean desperation – as in the case for Seattle.