Buccaneers want Antonio Brown back in 2021

Buccaneers receiver Antonio Brown won’t play today due to a knee injury, but the Buccaneers want him to play for the Buccaneers during the 2021 season.

Via Ian Rapoport, the Buccaneers want Brown back next season.

It’s no surprise, given that the Buccaneers want more than anything to keep quarterback Tom Brady next season. Even before a late-season run that sparked a berth in the NFC Championship, the organization desperately hoped Brady to choose to stay for a season that, hopefully, will entail the ability to host a full stadium of fans — and in turn to make full revenue for the year, and then some.

Brown was good not great in 2020, due in part to the fact that he never supplanted Mike Evans or Chris Godwin. Brown wasn’t supposed to. Come next year, however, Godwin could be gone via free agency. That would open a spot for Brown across from Evans. It also would bump up Scotty Miller and Tyler Johnson, both of whom have shown they can get it done.

Without a new deal, Brown will become a free agent on March 17. It’s unclear whether he’s done enough to get other teams to try to sign him. The Seahawks had real interest (or, more accurately quarterback Russell Wilson did). With the Josh Gordon experiment once again indefinitely on hold, Wilson could clamor for the team to bring Brown to town.

For the Bucs, the Seahawks, any other interested team(s), and the league, one specific issue continues to hover: The lawsuit accusing Brown of sexual assault and rape. Although it’s not set for trial until December 6, Brown at some point undoubtedly will testify under oath in a pre-trial deposition. And if he behaves like he did when deposed in the lawsuit arising from his decision to trash a luxury apartment and throw furniture over the balcony, he could say or do enough to get the league to conclude that he did what he’s accused of doing.

That’s why Brown’s best move would be to settle the case. Of course, the fact that his accuser’s lawyer surely understands this dynamic won’t make Brown’s ability to write a check and put the incident behind him even more expensive.