Packers Warned Against Signing Former Pro-Bowl Wide Receiver

Matt LaFleur, Green Bay Packers

Getty Quarterback Aaron Rodgers #12 talks with head coach Matt LaFleur of the Green Bay Packers in the second half against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on December 19, 2021 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

The Green Bay Packers will have the chance to upgrade their wide receiver group at significant value this offseason, but they’ve been warned that the juice isn’t worth the squeeze.

The franchise can’t hide from the recent tumultuous history between its front office and some of its top players, namely quarterback Aaron Rodgers. But the team’s on-field chemistry has rarely been questioned. That chemistry has helped steer the Packers to the NFC Championship Game in each of the last two seasons. Green Bay will make it three in a row with just one playoff win this postseason, as they finished the year with the No. 1 seed and the conference’s only bye through Wildcard Weekend.

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So the question is: Why would the Packers want to mess with that winning formula?

There is only one possible answer: talent. In this case, the still overwhelming talent of wide receiver Antonio Brown, formerly of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Packers Priority of Keeping Rodgers Will Impact Roster Decisions

Antonio Brown

GettyFormer Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown is in the market for a new team.

The hard truth is that Green Bay could lose Rodgers as early as next season. The QB is under contract through 2022, but he has the kind of contract leverage to force the Packers into trading him if he doesn’t play ball financially. The Packers’ top priority, other than winning the Super Bowl this season, is convincing him to stay.

Of course, winning the Super Bowl would be a great way of doing that. Re-signing arguably the league’s best pass catcher in Davante Adams, who is asking for the NFL’s richest wide receiver contract, to solidify the offense moving forward would also help. So would offering Rodgers a long-term extension to make him the highest paid QB in the game annually, or close to it, which Green Bay is expected to do.

Rodgers has already spoken publicly about Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst and his efforts to include the quarterback in “decisions that affect [his] job,” such as what directions to take when it comes to player personnel. The signing of wide receiver Randall Cobb this season, a former teammate of Rodgers’, is just one example.

After all that effort on Green Bay’s part, the next step would be to upgrade the offense — something the Packers haven’t really done through the draft in recent years and a fault with the team’s personnel planning that Rodgers has bemoaned in the past. While there will be several wide receiver options from which to choose via free agency or the trade market this offseason, one stands out right now — that of Antonio Brown (AB), a man with massive talent who could be signed for less than true market value due to his controversial past.

However, at least one analyst has warned Green Bay that the AB path is not one they want to travel.

Analyst Suggests Packers Pass on WR Antonio Brown

Antonio Brown Release

GettyWide receiver Antonio Brown is a free agent.

On paper, Green Bay makes sense as a destination for Brown.

Since parting ways with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Brown had a brief run with QB Tom Brady and the Patriots in New England before teaming up with Brady again in Tampa Bay for most of the last two seasons. Those were established teams with steady leadership and a quarterback with the kind of reputation strong enough to big-time Brown and rein him in.

The Packers, with Rodgers at the helm, fit that description. Perhaps that’s why last week Green Bay was named the odds-on favorite to sign AB at +500 by the offshore sportsbook website Bovada, per Odds Shark.

But Alex Kay, of Bleacher Report, said Wednesday that the Packers would be making a mistake by bringing on the controversial wideout, who parted ways with the Bucs mid-game in Week 17 by ripping his jersey and pads off after refusing to take the field.

The Packers only have three wideouts — Amari Rodgers, Randall Cobb and Juwann Winfree — under contract for 2022, making it a position of critical importance for the front office to address in free agency.

Although it may be tempting for the Packers to take a high-risk, high-reward gamble on Antonio Brown, the team would be making a mistake if it signed the wideout.

In terms of raw ability, there are few receivers available with more than Brown. He was incredibly productive during his tenure with the Buccaneers, amassing 87 catches for 1,028 yards and eight touchdowns in 15 games.

But he served a three-game suspension for using a fake COVID-19 vaccine card and returned for just two games before a bizarre display in which he took off his equipment and ran off the field in the middle of a game, effectively ending his tenure with the Bucs and potentially his NFL career.

While the Packers may not be able to find as talented of a receiver on a dirt-cheap contract, Brown isn’t worth the headache.

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Jon Schlegel
Jon Schlegel
4 months ago

Hire AB just to get intel. on Bucs!! And as backup incase needed!!

Lucas Scheibe
Lucas Scheibe
4 months ago

The Green Bay Packers would never sign someone with the issues that Antonio Brown brings to the table.

William Lewis
William Lewis
4 months ago

It seems as though “Sports Writers have become psychics, fortelling a future that most likely can never happen. Coming up with senarios that are totally absurd. I guess their Crystal balls guide their writing now. Too bad they can’t report facts rather than make up alternative facts.

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