What should the Tampa Bay Buccaneers do with Antonio Brown?
By Rob Leeds
Antonio Brown has been great for the Buccaneers in his limited sample size this season. Should the team make a push to keep him?
The Buccaneers will face numerous difficult offseason decisions at the end of this year, with Antonio Brown being one of the most significant question marks.
Brown has proven that he is still one of the best wide receivers in the NFL and clearly has a good relationship with Tom Brady, but the Buccaneers do have some questions regarding their future to address.
The first question is whether or not Brown is willing to take a team-friendly deal. AB has been eccentric at times, and some teams may not jump at the opportunity to add him, but his market should still be more extensive than one team.
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The other issue that the Bucs have to address is regarding player development for the future. Sure, Brown is consistently one of the best players on the field during his opportunities, but is leaning on him now stifling the development of younger players like Scott Miller down the road?
As far as both of these questions are concerned, the Bucs will need to think this decision through rationally.
What will Antonio Brown do?
If Brown is willing to stay for cheap due to his relationship with Brady, Tampa Bay may not have a real decision to make. Even with all of Brown’s question marks and the desire to develop young players, Brown playing on his current contract again would be too good to pass up.
Tampa Bay could offer Brown another deal close to the veteran minimum and lace the contract with incentives to offset any liabilities while also giving Brown a contract that rewards him for the performances that he is capable of.
If Brown does decide that he is worth more and wants more guaranteed money, the Bucs will want to ask themselves if Brown is worth it for one more year. Taking a chance on AB any longer than Brady is a risky gamble, so the odds are great that he will only stay in Tampa Bay for one more season.
During this time, Scotty Miller and Tyler Johnson will continue to go with limited reps, and the Bucs may not have enough time to evaluate them as future members of the team fully. For this reason, if Brown does ask for the money, Tampa Bay should probably let him walk, especially due to the presence of Mike Evans and Chris Godwin on the roster.
At the end of the day, the main goal is to win now, so the Bucs need to play the negotiations very carefully. Keeping Brown will make Brady happy, and winning now is more important than the development of young wide receivers in the long run.
It is also worth noting that the decision could be outside of Tampa Bay’s hands, as Brown has an upcoming court case that could take all elements of chance out of the scenario.
For our money, Brown returns next season if the court case goes his way, but the Buccaneers tread very lightly.
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