The star wide receiver will sign a one-year contract that will pay him up to $6.25 million according to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo and Tom Pelissero. Brown will become the last of the Bucs who played major snaps in the 2020 Super Bowl run to re-sign with the team. The Bucs retained all 22 starters from its Super Bowl team.
Pelissero reported one other team had an interest in Brown during free agency.
“But I spoke to his agent, Ed Wasielewski, who told me ‘the Bucs always wanted A.B. back, A.B. always wanted to be back, we worked very hard with both sides to make sure it was a reality,'” Pelissero said on Good Morning Football. “Now we know there have been non-football issues of various kinds with Antonio Brown over the past several years, but look at the words of (head coach) Bruce Arians, and Tom Brady.”
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Brown Earned His Keep in Tampa During 2020
Brown joined the Bucs at midseason in 2020 after being off the field for more than a year due to his off-field issues. He played one game in New England in 2019 with Brady before the team released him due to off-field issues. Brown then served an eight-game suspension in 2020 due to violations of the NFL’s Personal Conduct Policy.
The four-time All-Pro became a key receiver in the Bucs offense in the second half of the season and the playoffs. He had 45 receptions, 483 yards, and four touchdowns in the regular season. In the postseason, Brown caught eight passes for 81 yards, and two touchdowns in limited snaps due to a knee injury.
“Everyone has said in Tampa that since Brown joined that Bucs team, he has done things the right way,” Pelissero said on GMFB. “He has done everything that they have asked of him. He has been an energy-giver for that building, and obviously, he made plays all the way through the Super Bowl.”
The Waiting Game
Off-field issues cleared up for Brown last week with reaching a settlement in his civil lawsuit with former trainer Britney Taylor. Bucs general manager Jason Licht said during a press conference last week that the civil lawsuit wasn’t a deciding factor in contract talks with Brown’s representatives.
“Well, it’s always good when there is some resolution, but we signed him last year with the civil case looming,” Licht said. “So, all I can go off of is what we saw of Antonio on our team this year. He obviously was a good player, but he was a great teammate. So, to have this resolved, it certainly helps, but that is not necessarily the deciding factor in whether or not we’re going to continue to talk.”
Brown dropped his hints of wanting to return on social media in the past two months. It started with telling Bucs Tracker in an Instagram video the “me and ‘Playoff Lenny’ gonna work this out” in March.
After the Bucs secured all 22 starters from 2020, Brown jumped on Instagram to comment under the Bucs’ account with the message “sign AB” in early April. Bucs linebacker Devin White responded “waiting on you” afterward.
Well, the wait’s over.