Antonio Brown took a hiatus from the cryptic Instagram posts after his agent confirmed the news of Brown and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ agreement to reunite last week.
“First and foremost, I am grateful for the opportunity to return to the Buccaneers,” Brown wrote on Instagram. “It wouldn’t be possible without my brother Tom Brady, the Buccaneers organization, my teammates, and of course my fans.”
Brady reacted, “we are getting back to work!”
Reactions from other Bucs teammates poured in such as Devin White writing “yessir” followed by a slew of exclamation points. White urged Brown earlier in the offseason on Instagram to get moving on re-signing.
Bucs running back LeSean McCoy also wrote “yes sir” in response to Brown.
Tampa offered Brown a one-year contract that could pay him $6.25 million with incentives. NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero and Mike Garafolo reported on the news on April 28.
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Brady Brings Brown Along
When Brown’s brief 2019 stint in Oakland failed, Brown found a new home in New England with Brady and the Patriots — for a game.
The Patriots let him go shortly after due to off-field conduct, and Brown didn’t see the field again until the middle of the 2020 season due to an eight-game suspension by the NFL for off-field misconduct.
Brady, who signed with the Bucs in March 2020, advocated for the team to sign Brown. Tampa Times reporter Rick Stroud reported that head coach Bruce Arians said he didn’t want to sign Brown. Dynamics shifted during the 2020 season, and Arians and the Bucs changed their position on Brown by signing him to a one-year deal in October 2020.
It came with the caveat that Brown had to stay out of trouble. Brady helped the matter by having Brown live with him.
Brown soon produced on the field the way he did earlier in his career with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He helped the Bucs finish the regular season 11-5, reeling off four-straight wins. He then helped the Bucs in the playoffs with a touchdown against Washington in the Wild Card round and another in the Super Bowl against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Time of Uncertainty
Brown became one of the 20-plus free agents for the Bucs to sign in the offseason after the Super Bowl win.
Tampa used voidable seasons in contracts to fit all 22 of its starters within the salary cap, becoming the first Super Bowl team since 1977 to bring back all starters. That didn’t include Brown, the team’s third receiver behind Chris Godwin and Mike Evans.
Brown remained unsigned long after the Bucs secured the last of their starters, running back Leonard Fournette. Re-signing Brown looked more doubtful as reports surfaced of the sides being far apart. NFL Network’s Ian Rappoport projected that the Bucs would only offer another one-year deal below the going rate for star receivers.
No other teams jumped on signing the four-time All-Pro amid his ongoing legal issues. He faced a civil lawsuit with former trainer Brittney Taylor over sexual assault and rape allegations. Brown and Taylor reached a settlement in April, but Bucs general manager Jason Licht didn’t confirm if that would change the talks on re-signing Brown.
Ultimately, the Bucs re-worked tight end Cameron Brate’s contract to free up cap space for Brown to re-sign.
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