Considering the uncertaintly of Calvin Ridley‘s status, along with free agents Russell Gage, Olamide Zaccheaus, Tajae Sharpe and Christian Blake hitting the open market, the Atlanta Falcons currently have just one wide receiver on their active roster in Frank Darby.
This means, they most certainly will be on the search for more than one receiver this offseason, whether that be in the 2022 NFL draft or in free agency.
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Why The Falcons Should Not Sign Brown
Halden cites Brown’s baggage as the main reason. He writes:
Antonio Brown doesn’t deserve another chance after the myriad of issues the receiver has dealt with on and off the field. However, talent talks, and there is no questioning the fact that Brown is still a great player who can play the position at a level so few can.
Antonio Brown will likely be forced to sign a prove-it deal and because of that will be a tempting option for every team that needs a receiver. The Atlanta Falcons may be desperate to save cap space and find playmakers but Brown just isn’t the answer.
Whether it is the Patriots, Steelers, Bucs, or Raiders if you sign or trade for Antonio you will regret it. Despite his talent, he will hurt your team more than he will help. His me-first attitude is obvious and shows in how he has carried himself in this league. He will tear any number of teammates down to pat himself on the back he is an ultra-talented receiver who will be remembered not only for his talent but for the terrible attitude and atmosphere he creates for a team.
Halden isn’t wrong about Brown’s poor attitude and the drama he brings to every team but Atlanta could be that desperate and most of what they’re going to be able to afford in free agency are a bunch of those “prove it” deals.
Counterargument: Why the Falcons Should Sign Brown
While Halden doesn’t see that Brown is worth the headache for Atlanta, another Falcons writer, Alex Lord of SportsTalkATL.com, does.
First, Lord highlights Brown’s high production level even at the ripe age of 33 where he caught 42 receptions for 545 yards and four touchdowns through seven games in 2021.
Brown would give the Falcons offense a veteran who can line up anywhere. Assuming the Falcons do trade Ridley, I’d expect them to come away from April’s draft with at least two receivers. They’ll need a veteran in the room to lead them. AB hasn’t necessarily been a model leader or citizen for that matter, but nobody would question his work ethic and production on the field.
Second, Lord points out Brown’s incredibly low price tag (thanks to the drama) that would cost Atlanta less than $2 million, per Spotrac.
The new regime has made it abundantly clear they value accountability, intelligence, and leadership — it wouldn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out AB doesn’t embody those characteristics. However, Brown’s price tag and associated issues are worth the risk.
And lastly, Lord is confident that Brown would, if anything, make for the perfect marketing strategy to get fans to Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
The Falcons have a serious issue with fan engagement. I went to several games this past season, and the attendance was shocking, to say the least. Mercedes-Benz Stadium was partially filled when the team was still in the playoff hunt, and even then, opposing teams’ fans were disproportionately represented compared to Falcons fans. Signing AB would immediately give Falcons fans a reason to tune in on Sundays.
And that is a point I, personally, can vouch for since when I went on there were more open seats than filled, which is actually surprising considering tickets and concession stand food are a lot cheaper than at other franchises.
Both arguments make valid points, but I’m with Lord on this one as the positives that Brown could bring to this Atlanta offense outweigh the negatives.