After months of speculation, Antonio Brown finally found his next NFL landing spot. Fittingly, the best receiver in football over the last decade will be reunited with the greatest quarterback of all time. But in order to maximize his earnings with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Brown must be on his best behavior.
In fact, he has 2.5 million reasons to stay out of trouble and stay focused on football as the Bucs try to win their first Super Bowl title since 2002.
Antonio Brown takes his talents to Tampa
In any other situation, a player of Antonio Brown’s caliber wouldn’t be available at this stage of the season. However, his unceremonious exits with the Raiders and Patriots set the stage for even more personal and legal drama over the last 12 months. Eventually, in July, the NFL suspended Brown for eight games for multiple violations of the league’s personal-conduct policy.
Despite the numerous red flags surrounding the talented wide receiver, several franchises appeared interesting in signing AB. The Seattle Seahawks looked like a potential fit based on some strong comments from both Pete Carroll and Russell Wilson. The Baltimore Ravens also seemed like a logical landing spot, especially considering Brown worked out with Lamar Jackson this summer.
At the end of the day, though, the seven-time Pro Bowler joined the team that many expected him to ever since TB12 took his talents to Tampa. In doing so, Brown will get a second chance to catch passes from Tom Brady. Plus, he has an opportunity to win his first Super Bowl ring.
Brown has 2.5 million reasons to behave with the Buccaneers
By signing with the Buccaneers, Antonio Brown joins an offense that probably doesn’t need his services. However, the addition of the most productive receiver in football over the last decade makes Tampa the favorites to win Super Bowl 55.
If the Buccaneers succeed in winning the Lombardi Trophy, that will make Brown a rich man. In fact, AB has several lucrative incentives tied into his one-year contract.
On Tuesday, the NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero delivered the details of Brown’s deal with the Buccaneers. The 32-year-old will make $750,000 in pro-rated base salary. Brown can make up to $250,000 in per-game active roster bonuses, which protects Tampa in the event the controversial wide receiver cannot play.
In addition to the contract’s base value of $1 million, Brown can make another $1.5 million by hitting certain incentives. If the Buccaneers win the Super Bowl, Brown gets a $750,000 bonus.
Tampa also tied in some performance-based incentives. As long as the team makes the playoffs, Brown can earn $250,000 for catching at least 45 passes. He can make another $250,000 by posting at least 650 receiving yards. If he catches at least six touchdowns, he will make another $250,000.
In total, Brown’s one-year deal carries a maximum value of $2.5 million. But in order to hit all those incentives, he’ll need to stay out of trouble and stay on the field. Given his tumultuous 2019 season, that seems like a risky bet. At the very least, the Buccaneers protected themselves by including the per-game roster bonuses and performance incentives in Brown’s contract.
Will AB secure his $750,000 Super Bowl bonus?
With a $750,000 bonus on the line, Antonio Brown needs to do everything possible to help turn the Buccaneers into Super Bowl champions. Ultimately, if he succeeds in staying out of trouble, AB should be the final piece that puts Tampa over the top.
Through seven games, the Bucs rank third in scoring and eighth in points allowed. Brady has played at an MVP level in his age-43 season. The six-time Super Bowl champion has already thrown 18 touchdown passes and currently has a QBR of 70.7. In his final season with the New England Patriots, Brady threw just 24 TD and posted a career-low QBR of 54.5.
The Brown signing gives the Buccaneers QB yet another elite weapon. AB joins an offense that already features Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Rob Gronkowski, Ronald Jones, and Leonard Fournette. As long as he remains focused on football, Brown should feast against one-on-one coverage. Overall, Tampa should have no trouble scoring 35-plus points per game on a weekly basis while shutting opposing offenses down with their fast and physical defense.
Of course, everything could go in the wrong direction if Antonio Brown reverts back to his old ways. But with millions on the line, perhaps the future Hall of Fame candidate will surprise everyone and play the good soldier role for at least half a season.
All statistics courtesy of Pro Football Reference.