NFL Rumors: Are Eagles Crazy Enough to Sign Antonio Brown?

antonio brown

Getty NFL free agent WR Antonio Brown.

Within minutes of Antonio Brown’s semi-reinstatement, the phone lines lit up across the Philadelphia region. There are a good number of fans who would love to see the mercurial receiver in midnight green.

Think about it. Brown, who was cut by the Patriots for conduct detrimental to the team last September, will be allowed to play in 2020 but he has to sit out the first eight weeks. The eight-game suspension for “violating the NFL’s personal conduct” policy kicks in whether he is on an NFL roster or not, so he would be eligible to play in Week 9.

Would any franchise be crazy enough to take a flier on Brown? Remember, he dragged two organizations through the mud (Steelers, Raiders) and then blatantly lied to the Patriots before alleged sexual harassment got him kicked out of the league. One more thing, the 32-year-old also pleaded no contest to felony burglary with battery charges and two lesser misdemeanor charges, per ESPN.

Brown has promised to be the “best version of himself” moving forward and he continues to rebuild his severely damaged reputation. Things had gotten so bad last year that super-agent Drew Rosenhaus fired him as a client.

“I want to be the best version of myself on and off the field, and I will do my best to be a great teammate,” Brown wrote on Instagram. “I appreciate the NFL giving me the opportunity to continue to work on myself and improve. I am thankful and grateful for this opportunity to play a game that I truly love and I look forward to joining a new team soon. Thank you to my family and all those that have supported me. I will show the fans my appreciation for this second chance by having the best season of my career.”

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Eagles Searching for Marquise Goodwin’s Replacement

Brown’s name has kept popping up as a possible replacement for Marquise Goodwin who decided to opt-out and protect his family. It can be argued that the Eagles don’t need to add another receiver to the mix, not with the 10 guys already on the roster. Let the rookies — Jalen Reagor, John Hightower, Quez Watkins, Manasseh Bailey — and former practice-squad ace Greg Ward Jr. take advantage of those extra reps and state their cases for the 53-man roster.

But, Brown would be an intriguing option if they wanted a reclamation project. He was arguably the best receiver in the league in his prime and dominated the last decade. He racked up 11,263 yards on 841 receptions from 2010-2019 while leading the NFL in receiving yards twice (2014, 2017) and in receptions twice (2014, 2015). His 15 touchdowns were tops in 2018, with 75 total scores for his career.

Yes, Brown would be a significant upgrade from Goodwin and vault to the top of the depth chart as the best receiver on the team — if, and only if, the seven-time Pro Bowler could keep his head on straight. That’s a huge if.

Brown Doesn’t Vibe with Eagles’ Established Culture

Should the Eagles inquire about Brown? Better yet, is he worth the headache? Probably not.

The Eagles have a long-standing tradition of shying away from problem children (minus Terrell Owens) and Brown is the NFL’s equivalent of Dennis the Menace. While the thought of Brown starting opposite DeSean Jackson has to be tempting — to almost everyone except the Dallas Cowboys — it needs to perish. He is just too much of a risk as SportsRadio 94WIP’s Howard Eskin accurately pointed out.

Besides, the Eagles have talked about their culture over the years and spent an insane amount of time cultivating it. It’s not just lip service to them. Trust is a word that matters.

“You hit the nail on the head when you said the word trust,” head coach Doug Pederson told reporters back in May. “That’s been my messaging throughout the entire offseason program, and that was a word that I actually when I thought about where we were as a football team coming off of last season, really the last two seasons, we needed to trust. Then we hit the pandemic, and now more than ever, we need trust, we need to trust each other.”

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