Tampa Bay Buccaneers management won’t move any closer to what Antonio Brown is looking for as FOX Sports analyst Colin Cowherd sees it.
“So often life will tell you what to do and what not to do. Just pay attention,” Cowherd said on his show, The Herd with Colin Cowherd. “They have re-signed everybody except A.B., and there’s a reason for it. He’s 32, he’s got baggage, it’s certainly not a position of need, it’s a position college football gives you a ton of (in the draft). How valuable is he?”
Cowherd noted the Bucs signings to keep all 22 starters didn’t come cheap — including one of the team’s star receivers.
“Christ Godwin is probably going to make more franchise tag than he is going to get on the market,” Cowherd said.
The Bucs have lots of depth at receiver aside from Brown with Godwin, Mike Evans, Tyler Johnson, and Scotty Miller. Tight ends Rob Gronkowski, Cameron Brate, and O.J. Howard give quarterback Tom Brady plenty of help in the passing game, too.
Brown notably didn’t play in two of the biggest games for the Bucs this past season.
“He didn’t play against Green Bay both times last year, and Tampa beat them both times,” Cowherd said.
Tampa beat the Packers 38-10 during the regular season before Brown arrived, and Brady threw two touchdowns in that one. Brady then threw three touchdowns against the Packers in the NFC Championship Game, which the Bucs won 31-26. Five different players caught those touchdowns between the two games — Johnson, Gronkowski, Brate, Evans, and Miller.
“And let’s be honest, his personality has been at best a little unstable in recent years. So to me, he’s an unnecessary risk,” Cowherd said of Brown.
The four-time All-Pro has been mired in a civil lawsuit due to sexual abuse allegations. It led to a suspension in 2020 for eight games. He has a December trial date awaiting him, which falls at a critical juncture of the 2021 season and could lead to another suspension. The Bucs and two other teams Brown suited up for could get subpoenaed for the court proceedings.
Cowherd added that “it always ends this way” for Brown and compared him to other star receivers at the tail end of their careers.
“We never thought it was going to end like Larry Fitzgerald refined or Calvin Johnson great and money stored away — ‘I’ve got the power, and I’m out,’” Cowherd said. “We didn’t think it was going to end like Hines Ward where he left, and he was beloved in the community. But this is how it ends if you’re a pain in the butt.”
“I had someone give me great advice years ago,” Cowherd said. “They said, ‘you never want to be the biggest pain in the blank at your workplace. You can be the second, third, fourth biggest pain in the rear — don’t be the biggest pain in the butt.’”
Bucs head coach Bruce Arians claimed Antonio Brown acted like “a model citizen” last season and no reported off-field incidents occurred.
“A lot of you can say, ‘well, A.B. was on his best behavior.’ Yes, briefly,” Cowherd said on his show. “But if you ask everybody upstairs there in that front office, ‘yah know, one guy’s going to go sideways’, it’s not going to be Lavonte David, it’s not going to be Donovan Smith, it’s not going to be Ronald Jones, it’s not going to be Brady.”
Cowherd noted that Brown may have confirmed the Bucs concerns by his social media comment on the Bucs’ Instagram to rejoin the team. Brown has sounded off on his interest to return to Tampa via Instagram a few other times this offseason, and a video of him working out with another team’s players also went on the social media platform.
“A.B. rushed to social media. Social media can be your friend. It can also be your enemy,” Cowherd said. “It’s way more often your enemy than your ally. Everybody knows you want to be back. Stay off.”
Market Watch for Brown
Seattle and Baltimore have looked like potential destinations for Brown, but that’s been mainly because of interest shown by star quarterbacks Russell Wilson and Lamar Jackson. Cowherd noted the “market for him is tiny” and really doesn’t “have any leverage.”
“Seattle may be interested. I don’t think Seattle wants him,” Cowherd said on his show. “I think Russell Wilson does.”
“Baltimore may be interested. Again, I don’t think (John) Harbaugh is. I think it’s a good receiver (draft) class,” Cowherd added. “They’ll probably draft a couple.”