The Tampa Bay Buccaneers tried to make Tom Brady’s first season in Florida as smooth of a transition as possible. This included adding some of his former teammates by trading for Rob Gronkowski and signing Antonio Brown.
Former NFL general manager and ESPN analyst Mike Tannenbaum believes the Bucs may have one more move up their sleeve to give Brady even more help. During a recent episode of Get Up, Tannebaum suggested Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman could be an option for the Buccaneers if the team does not re-sign Antonio Brown.
“Greeny, let’s connect the dots,” Tannenbaum explained. “We put up that graphic a few minutes ago, one of the few players they did not re-sign was Antonio Brown. Yesterday, the New England Patriots signed two receivers Kendrick Bourne, Nelson Agholor. When you combine last year, they played 455 snaps in the slot. So, who’s expendable? Julian Edelman. Where do aging, retired players go? They go south to Florida, Greeny. Tom Brady, Julian Edelman, when we connect the dots it makes a lot of sense. Antonio Brown wasn’t re-signed, Edelman is now expendable. It’s another ex-Patriot going to Tampa Bay with Tom Brady. It makes a lot of sense to me, when you connect the dots.”
Edelman is entering the final season of a two-year, $15.5 million contract. The Patriots receiver is slated to have a $6.1 million cap hit with a $2.8 million salary, per Spotrac. There were some rumblings that Edelman could be a cap casualty, but so far the Patriots are heading into the 2021 season with their veteran receiver.
Here is a look at the full ESPN segment on a potential reunion in Tampa.
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The Bucs ‘Haven’t Closed the Door’ on Re-Signing A.B.
Both the Buccaneers and Brown have indicated they would like to have a reunion. Brown is the Buccaneers’ final key free agent who remains unsigned. It will be interesting to see what kind of deal Brown can command given his ongoing legal investigation.
ESPN 710 Seattle’s John Clayton reported that Russell Wilson is still pushing the Seahawks to sign Brown. The Seahawks publicly admitted to exploring signing Brown last season prior to the receiver joining Brady in Tampa. Despite the lack of a deal, ESPN’s Jenna Laine reported the Buccaneers have not ruled out re-signing Brown.
“T.Y. Hilton, Larry Fitzgerald, Golden Tate, Sammy Watkins, Danny Amendola, Cordarrelle Patterson, Mohamed Sanu and Adam Humphries are all unsigned,” Laine noted. “One argument is teams prioritized other positions because of this. It also looks to be yet another special draft class, like 2020. But where does that leave Brown? Likely on another incentive-laden “prove it” deal if he were to return to Tampa. Last year, that was a one-year deal with a base salary of $750,000 with incentives that pushed the value to $2.5 million, some of which he reached.”
Edelman on Brady & Gronk: ‘I Wanna See Those Guys Do Well’
Given the Buccaneers’ depth at wide receiver, it seems unlikely they would give up assets in a trade for Edelman. Bill Belichick is also far from eager to do the Bucs any favors after watching his former quarterback win a Super Bowl while the Pats missed the playoffs.
It could be a different story if the Patriots opt to release Edelman, but New England likely would have done that at the start of free agency. During a January interview with TMZ, Edelman admitted it is a little weird seeing his former teammates in a different uniform, but he still wants to see them succeed.
“I wanna see those guys do well,” Edelman said. “It’s awesome seeing Gronk and Tommy doing well and playing and making big plays … it’s obviously, definitely weird, but it is what it is.”