Buccaneers have obvious choice to make on Antonio Brown
By Rob Leeds
The Buccaneers are better with Antonio Brown. So, what do they do?
The Antonio Brown saga with the Buccaneers has mostly been a quiet one. The vast majority of the behavior issues are in the past, he has been nothing short of a model teammate in Tampa, and Brown is still one of the best receivers in the NFL.
As the NFL announced the suspensions for Brown and Mike Edwards due to forging COVID-19 vaccination cards, a decent chunk of the NFL world is now looking to Bruce Arians and the rest of the Buccaneer leadership to see what the future for Brown holds.
It is worth noting that Arians was not a huge proponent of bringing AB to Tampa, but look where we are at now.
This is also a great time to acknowledge that the only player from the duo in real danger (from the Buccaneers) is Brown. Edwards has shown no signs that this is the norm, and Bucs fans shouldn’t expect issues like this to pop up in the future for their ball-hawk safety.
As for Brown, the Bucs have a very obvious choice going forward; don’t do anything.
Brown and Edwards have gone through the league, admitted to wrong-doing, and are serving their suspensions. There may be legal fallout due to forging documents, but from the NFL standpoint, this will be over after three games.
Anyone promoting the idea that the Bucs should cut Brown for this transgression overestimates his personal impact on the roster and underestimate his impact on the field. It also doesn’t take into account other players that are still in the league despite having terrible allegations against them.
Brown is still one of the best receivers in the NFL, and no one can deny that the offense hasn’t taken a step back in the time without AB. There are many reasons contributing to lesser numbers from Brady in recent weeks, but not having Brown is one of the biggest.
The entire focus of the Buccaneers is winning a Super Bowl. AB absolutely makes that prospect more attainable for the Bucs, so unless he is convicted of a crime, Tampa needs to keep their Super Bowl chances as alive as possible.
Fans may hate to hear it, but being good at your job creates slack for when you make mistakes. A great player gets lots of slack. A future Hall of Famer like Brown can get away with mistakes like this more than the average player.
Is it fair? Maybe not. But the game is about winning, and Brown gives any team a better shot at this goal.
As for the “locker room cancer” argument, which, frankly, hasn’t been valid for one second in Tampa, this event doesn’t change the Buccaneer outlook for the following games one iota. No one questions whether or not the captains and coaches are in control of their team. And if anyone questions them, perhaps they should also question the Packers and NFL for letting Aaron Rodgers go into press conference after press conference without a mask while lying to the media about his status.
In fact, Rodgers has become a much bigger distraction than Brown ever will be as a result of this, and his team was actually culpable in his actions. The Bucs didn’t know about Brown.
And while some people may not like Brown and believe the Buccaneers have an obvious choice to cut bait with the superstar, perhaps the NFL should look into the validity of all vaccine cards throughout the league before the Bucs make a decision to actively make their playoff hopes worse.
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