Antonio Brown is one of the more intriguing free agent players this offseason for me as I still believe that if he were to get a starting role, he would be able to play at a high level. We saw it at times last season while Brown was on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He even “turned back the clock” against Atlanta in Week’s 15 and 17, cooking the Falcons poor secondary for a combined 231 receiving yards and three touchdowns. In that Week 17 game alone, Antonio Brown saw a season-high 14 targets, catching 11 passes for a 73.3% catch rate.
To me, Brown still has some juice left. He just needs to stay out of the news and out of trouble. Currently, Antonio Brown is looking to get another contract as he’s a free agent heading into the 2021 season. The Bucs are looking to re-sign him as contract negotiations with Brown are reportedly still on the table. Brown was reportedly looking for a deal similar to what wide receivers DeSean Jackson and TY Hilton got in free agency. The Phinest Crew and I talked about this on the latest episode of the Fantasy’s Phinest Podcast too. Let’s play with this though. Where could Antonio Brown go if he doesn’t return to the Bucs? I have five landing spots that would not only let him reignite his career at the starter level, but would also allow him to be a viable asset for fantasy this season.
The Green Bay Packers
This is by far the best landing spot for Antonio Brown in my opinion. This is even at the risk of Allen Lazard’s fantasy value taking a hit due to the signing (he’s one of my favorite sleeper-ish types). Not only would he be paired with one of the top wide receivers in the game in Davante Adams but would provide Aaron Rodgers with that dynamic playmaker as the number two wideout on the team. Even with the Packers ranking 24th in pass attempts in 2020, Rodgers ranked 2nd among QBs in completion percentage at 70.7%.
Brown could easily slide into the number wide out spot on the team or at the very least faceoff against Allen Lazard or Marquez Valdez-Scantling for the spot in camp. MVS played the entire season but only finished with 63 targets. That’s with Lazard, who finished with 43 targets on the season, missing 6 games due to a core injury. After Davante Adams (148 targets), the rest of the Packers wideouts combined for 141 targets. That’s nearly 27% of the target share. Adams was 28% just by himself. Brown finished with 62 targets in Tampa Bay while playing just 8 games and playing behind other guys. Over a 16 game season while averaging nearly 8 targets a game, Brown could total nearly 124 targets if given the opportunity in GB.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
This one is a tale of two sides. One the positive, Brown returning to the Bucs would be a good move for. It would reunite him with Tom Brady, the guy who tied second in touchdown passes and came in third in passing yards in just his first season with the Bucs. Brown was able to finish third on the team in targets among the wide receiver group despite only playing eight games in 2020. Brown also was able to showcase that he could still be considered a wide receiver one when given a bigger target share.
The issue comes in with how the team is currently set up. While the Bucs would be open to bringing Brown back, they don’t necessarily NEED to. The Bucs also have Scott Miller and Tyler Johnson under contract and they have been able to play pretty well when given the chance to perform. Add that in with them being much younger than Brown, the Bucs could easily move on from Brown without a second thought. Whether the Bucs bring back Antonio Brown this season remains to be seen but this is still one of the better landing spots for him on this list.
The Titans would be another landing spot that could pay off for Antonio Brown should he decide to move on. The Titans allowed wide receiver Corey Davis and tight end Jonnu Smith to walk in free agency. With them moving on, it creates a target vacuum of about 157 targets leaving the team. With the Titans already depleted in terms of viable passing options, Antonio Brown could come in and be the “Robin” to A.J. Brown‘s “Batman”. The Titans could be in the market for a rookie wide receiver coming out of this years draft but could very well add a veteran presence to the team to help out.
Ryan Tannehill‘s efficiency at the quarterback position would also continue to be great for the Titans passing attack. Corey Davis saw 92 targets alone last season as the number two wide receiver. Davis also added 984 receiving yards and five touchdowns to the team too. I believe Antonio Brown could still be an all-around solid threat and give Tannehill another red-zone threat with scoring opportunity to go along with A.J. Brown. With the Bucs, Brown was 5 of 6 inside the 20 with an 83.3% catch rate and just one touchdown. Considering the amount of red-zone options he had to contend with between Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, etc… that wouldn’t be something he would have to deal with in Tennessee.
Las Vegas Raiders
I know this one is a real stretch but let’s walk through this one. Antonio Brown would have to do some major butt-kissing after the way he left the Raiders organization the last time he was there. Looking at the current roster though, the Raiders could use a legit WR 1. The Raiders picked up John Brown after he was replaced by Gabriel Davis and they still have Henry Ruggs and Bryan Edwards. Let’s be real though, until proven otherwise nobody on the roster is a WR 1. Brown could come in and command targets behind tight end Darren Waller and lead the wide receiver group.
Here’s were the issue comes in. Last season, the entire Raiders WR group was targeted just 43%, one of the lowest target shares in the league. Nelson Agholor saw just 82 targets to lead the group in 2020. The potentially low target total for Antonio Brown based on the wide receivers production from last season would be concerning to say the least. On top of the fact that Darren Waller saw 145 targets by himself. Waller is the man for the Raiders passing game so it’s hard if Brown could crave out a bigger role in the passing game larger than what Agholor saw.
Now before you guys jump on me, of course this is scenario works if Deshaun Watson plays in 2021 and doesn’t get suspended, exiled from the league, etc. Let’s look at the team. Will Fuller left the Texans after they decided they weren’t going to pay him and ventured off to Miami. Randall Cobb‘s injury history caught up with him last season as well. That leaves Brandin Cooks as the legit number one receiver for the team. Cooks saw 119 targets in 2021, accounting for nearly 22% of the teams target share. With Fuller who saw 75 targets prior to his suspension in Miami, Antonio Brown could come in and either be the new wide receiver one or be a solid wide receiver two.
With Watson, the Texans passing game was one of the more efficient passing attacks in the league last season. Watson led the league in passing yards and had one of the better completion percentages among quarterbacks last season at 70.2%. Not only that but Deshaun Watson ranked 4th best in On Target % at 80%. Obviously, having Watson available for this to work is key. Otherwise this isn’t really worth talking about. This is also why this is my last pick so… yeah.