While his time as one of the best pass catchers in the NFL seems like a distant memory at this point, free agent wide receiver Antonio Brown could potentially return to the mix sometime in the very near future. According to a recent report from Mike Florio of NBC Sports’ Pro Football Talk, Brown could return from his suspension in just two weeks.
Antonio Brown was suspended previously for the first eight games of the 2020-21 regular season, and while it was initially unclear how much interest there would be in his services, the Seattle Seahawks are reportedly taking a close look at signing Brown.
The veteran wide out is still in the midst of an ongoing legal process steming from sexual assault allegations from this past offseason. Even so, Brown will be permitted to take the field after the suspension runs its course in two weeks. He will immediately become an unrestricted free agent following Week 8’s slate of games — assuming no team signs him before that.
Outside of Seattle, here are three landing spots that make the most sense for Antonio Brown in free agency.
Although a former member of the Pittsburgh Steelers, free agent wide receiver Antonio Brown could make his next NFL stop against an arch rival of the heralded AFC North franchise. With Brown’s cousin, Marquise “Hollywood” Brown already a member of the Baltimore Ravens, perhaps the troubled pass catcher could receive a shot from longtime head coach John Harbaugh.
In addition to already having “Hollywood” Brown in Baltimore, Harbaugh also saw firsthand just how prolific Antonio Brown can be as the Ravens and Steelers have had some intense and memorable battles over the course of the last several seasons. Even though the Ravens have only one loss on the season, just one year after serving as the top seed in the AFC, Baltimore could still use some additional firepower on offense so it seems. With quarterback Lamar Jackson only having a few options to choose from at the wide receiver position, he often relies on the help of tight end Mark Andrews, though teams will surely begin to take notice sooner rather than later.
With Antonio Brown on board, Jackson would be able to go deep down field while the presence of the veteran pass catcher would also clear up some other options due to his route running and quickness. If the Browns were to link up with Jackson and Andrews on offense, in addition to a slew of Ravens running backs, perhaps this could take Baltimore to the next level come playoff time.
The only issue could be that Antonio Brown won’t click with the rest of the Ravens locker room while his presence could disrupt something good that’s still brewing in Baltimore. This will no doubt become the determining factor in the process for the Ravens when it comes to possibly securing Brown.
The Houston Texans have already encountered a season’s worth of issues with Week 7 of the 2020 regular season not even upon them just yet. After trading away All-Pro wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins to the Arizona Cardinals this past offseason, the Texans have since jumped out to a dismal 1-5 start to the year. Not only that, though, but Houston has already made the huge decision to part ways with head coach and general manager Bill O’Brien, who was also calling the plays for the Texans. Despite the fact that O’Brien seemingly left the Texans with very few options throughout its roster and now a lost season altogether, taking a flyer on free agent wide receiver probably wouldn’t be the worst idea. The culture in Houston is already in shambles while this relationship could benefit both parties strictly on the field. If Antonio Brown inks a short-term deal with the Texans, he can show the rest of the league that he is still more than dynamic as a top option along the outside.
On the other hand, the Texans can help franchise qurterback Deshaun Watson further develop as he clearly does not have enough weapons at the moment. The presence of Antonio Brown would allow Watson to make throws all over the field while adding yet another deep threat to the mix in Houston. If the Texans were to ultimately sign Brown, he would immediately become the team’s top wide receiver ahead of Brandin Cooks, Will Fuller V and Randall Cobb.
New England Patriots
After suiting up for both the Pittsburgh Steelers and then Oakland Raiders, though he never even played a regulation snap for the latter, free agent wide receiver Antonio Brown encountered a one-game stint as a member of the heralded New England Patriots. With current Tampa Bay Buccaneers and former Patriots quarterback Tom Brady seemingly taking Brown under his wing, the unpredictable pass catcher managed to string together one impressive performance in New England.
While playing against the rival Miami Dolpins back on September 15, 2019, Antonio Brown tallied four receptions on eight targets for 56 yards and one touchdown in his lone appearance as a member of the Patriots.
With Antonio Brown adding another five yards on a rushing attempt against the Dolphins, the Patriots rolled, 43-0. Because Brown’s brief stint in New England well so well the first time, perhaps head coach Bill Belichick will take another chance as his team currently sits at a nearly even 2-3 on the year in 2020-21.
With Brady now in Tampa Bay, though, it remains to be seen if the chemistry would still be there between Antonio Brown and current Patriots quarterback Cam Newton. With the rival Buffalo Bills presently leading the way in the AFC East, but only by a slim margin after losing back-to-back games, this could be the spark that the Brady-less Patriots need to make a run this time around.