Seven-time Pro bowler Antonio Brown is easily the best wide receiver left in free agency.
Brown is best known for an outstanding nine-year period with the Pittsburgh Steelers, where he was arguably the best receiver in the NFL for much of the 2010s decade. Unfortunately, Brown's career has seen disruptions of late.
Politics at the Steelers, injuries and politics at the Raiders, and the emergence of a sexual assault charge at the Patriots saw Antonio Brown traded or dropped from all three rosters in quick succession.
The NFL also banned Brown for eight matches due to the continuous violations of his own personal conduct policy. All of that meant Antonio Brown ended up sitting out a season and a half of football in 2019 and 2020.
At Tom Brady's request, Bruce Arians added Antonio Brown to the Buccaneers' roster midway through the 2020 season. Brown took a while to get going but returned to form towards the back end of the regular campaign and in the playoffs.
Antonio Brown notched up 483 yards and four TDs as the Buccaneers finished second in the NFC South. In the final nine games the former Steeler played last year, PFF ranked him seventh among all wide receivers, awarding him a receiving grade of 86.
Moreover, Brown also etched his name into the annals of Bucs' football history with a TD in the Buccaneers' Super Bowl win over the Kansas City Chiefs.
Three potential destinations for Antonio Brown:
Despite his Super Bowl heroics, Antonio Brown finds himself without a new deal, adrift from the Buccaneers and in the free agency market.
Antonio Brown may be 32, but he showed last season that he still has some quality football left in him. If he can continue to keep his head out of trouble, he could be a quality asset for almost any team in the NFL.
On that note, let's take a look at the three best landing spots for the 4x All-Pro Antonio Brown.
#1 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Antonio Brown did well with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last season. The 4x All-Pro was added to the roster halfway through the campaign but registered 483 yards and four TDs before the playoffs.
He registered a TD against Washington in the Wildcard Round. He also added one memorable TD in the Buccaneers' Super Bowl defeat of the Chiefs, catching a short pass from Tom Brady for six.
Things went about as well as they possibly could have for Brown in Tampa. So it's no surprise that the Buccaneers are still interested in bringing him back in time for autumn.
On Antonio Brown's potential return to Tampa, NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport said:
“His (Brown's) deal with Tampa Bay, I think, is going to be a little bit of a ‘prove it’ type situation. Tampa wants him back. Brady wants him there. That means a lot."
Meanwhile, Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians recently said that Antonio Brown has been 'a model citizen' since arriving in Tampa, which potentially paves the way for the receiver's return to Florida in 2021.
#2 Seattle Seahawks or Baltimore Ravens
Other than the Buccaneers, the Seattle Seahawks and the Baltimore Ravens are also interested in the services of Antonio Brown.
After failed attempts to bring JuJu Smith-Schuster and TY Hilton to Baltimore, the Ravens eventually settled for Sammy Watkins, the former Chief, to boost Lamar Jackson's arsenal of receiving weapons.
On FS1's Undisputed, though, Shannon Sharpe mentioned that the Ravens were not done yet ,saying that the franchise has shown an interest in signing Antonio Brown:
"I heard (the Ravens) are still in the market for Antonio Brown, but the thing is price for him", Sharpe said. "If it wasn't for price, guess where he'd already be? Like all the rest of the guys that went back to Tampa (Bay Buccaneers)."
The Seattle Seahawks could be another potential option for Antonio Brown. Russell Wilson tried in earnest to get Brown to join him in Seattle during the last off-season. The Seahawks recently lost WR David Moore (now of the Panthers), so Brown is a definite option for Pete Carrol to consider should he wish to plug the hole via free agency.
Ian Rapoport has this say on a potential Antonio Brown move to Seattle:
“If Seattle’s going to say, ‘we believe, we trust you, we’re going to give you real money, not like incentive-laden,’ maybe he goes..."
To be honest, from a footballing perspective, Antonio Brown at either the Ravens or the Seahawks would be a great coup for all concerned, as he would improve both teams.
Whether or not a move to Baltimore or Seattle ensues for the receiver is a different story, though. Unfortunately, it's not always just about football with Brown, and the receivers' off-the-field antics will always carry the chance of putting off suitors.
#3 Kansas City Chiefs
This one is plucked straight out of orbit, but imagine if Andy Reid pulled off some kind of deal to bring Antonio Brown to the Kansas City Chiefs?
The Chiefs' 2021 offensive line might no longer feature the supreme talents of 2x Pro Bowler Eric Fisher and 3x Pro Bowler Mitchell Schwartz.
But with the return of Laurent Duvernay-Tardiff and the free-agent signing of the former Patriot, Joe Thuney, to reinforce the interior, the Chiefs could add a genuine WR2 threat like Antonio Brown to complement Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill, and TE Travis Kelce. It can be argued that their new-look offense is stronger overall, even without Fisher and Schwartz.
Brown's ability to run snappy routes at pace and to get open downfield would be a perfect complement to Mahomes' accurate ball delivery and ability to extend plays.
It might be pure, unfounded speculation and unlikely to happen. But Antonio Brown to the Kansas City Chiefs could make a lot of sense.