Packers Had Interest in Signing Antonio Brown?

Packers AB Interest

Getty Wide Receiver Antonio Brown #17 of the New England Patriots warms up prior to the game against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium on September 15, 2019 in Miami, Florida.

Could Antonio Brown have traded the Tampa Bay sunshine for winter in Green Bay?

ESPN’s Adam Schefter revealed Monday the Packers had called Brown to gauge his interest in signing with them prior to him agreeing to join the Buccaneers in late October. He also confirmed the Packers have continued making calls about wide receivers ahead of Tuesday’s NFL trade deadline.

“I think Green Bay made a call to Antonio Brown,” Schefter said during a guest appearance on The Pat McAfee Show on Monday. “I think that they checked in. I don’t think it ever went anywhere, but they did check in to see if he’d have any interest in going to Green Bay. And I think if you’re Antonio Brown, you probably would rather go to Tampa than Green Bay.”

Brown will miss Monday night’s game against the New York Giants as he concludes his eight-game suspension, but he will expectedly make his Buccaneers debut against the New Orleans Saints next week for Sunday Night Football. He has caught 841 passes for 11,265 yards and 75 touchdowns over 131 career games, earning All-Pro honors in five consecutive seasons from 2013-17 with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Packers once again struggled to get quality production out of their wide receivers during Week 8’s loss to the Vikings. While Davante Adams caught 13 passes and all three of Aaron Rodgers’ touchdown throws, the other four wideouts only combined for four receptions.

A potential boost could come in Week 9 in San Francisco if Allen Lazard — who returned to practice last week from injured reserve — is activated to the 53-man roster, but his return alone might not be enough to reinforce some of the receiving corps’ deficiencies.

Packers Not Ignoring Big-Name Targets

While some fans and NFL teams might have a difficult time trusting Brown as a reliable player, it would have been bad business for the receiver-needy Packers to completely avoid him once he neared the end of his suspension.

Brown was undoubtedly one of the best free-agent veterans still on the market, and he went to the Bucs on a one-year bargain of a contract that has a max value of just $2.5 million. That’s the same amount the Packers agreed to pay free-agent signing Devin Funchess before he voluntarily opted out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19 — except more than half of Brown’s deal is earned through incentives.

To some degree, there’s no sense in wasting energy on could-have-beens for the Packers now that Brown is elsewhere, but it should be encouraging that he is at least the second big-name player who has reportedly drawn interest from the Packers. They were also reported to have made a trade offer for Philadelphia tight end Zach Ertz prior to the Eagles placing him on injured reserve a few weeks ago.

The Packers still have some time to secure another contributor before Tuesday’s 3 p.m. CT trade deadline with rumblings (including from Schefter) that they are still asking around about wideouts and linebackers. An addition at either position — or along their defensive line — could help steady the ship for the second half of the season.

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