The Tampa Bay Buccaneers‘ front office has some tough decisions to make this offseason. Several key players become free agents, most notably Chris Godwin, Rob Gronkowski, and Antonio Brown.
On a recent episode of “First Take,” ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith talked about how the Buccaneers should prioritize re-signing a controversial player over Rob Gronkowski, and a certain group of Tampa Bay fans won’t be happy.
Rob Gronkowski played well for the Buccaneers in 2020
The Buccaneers acquired Rob Gronkowski from the New England Patriots on April 21, 2020. The five-time Pro Bowler came out of retirement to play with Tom Brady.
During the 2020 regular season, Gronkowski caught 45 balls for 623 yards and seven touchdowns. He also played in all 16 games for the first time since his rookie season with the Patriots.
In the NFC playoffs against the Washington Football Team, New Orleans Saints, and Green Bay Packers, Gronkowski recorded only two catches for 43 yards. However, the future Hall of Famer went off in the Super Bowl against the Kansas City Chiefs, proving that he’s still a difference-maker despite being 31-years-old.
Against the Chiefs, Gronkowski caught two touchdowns from Brady. He finished the game with six receptions for 67 yards to help the Buccaneers win by a final score of 31-9.
Rob Gronkowski played well for the Buccaneers in 2020 and has earned another contract. Since Tampa Bay has numerous players entering free agency, odds are the franchise won’t keep everyone, which is why Stephen A. Smith believes the team should prioritize Antonio Brown over Gronk.
Stephen A. Smith reveals why he’s choosing Antonio Brown over Rob Gronkowski
Stephen A. Smith believes the Buccaneers should do whatever it takes to re-sign Antonio Brown. Since the star wideout has a great relationship with Tom Brady and was a model citizen in 2020 after getting signed by Tampa Bay, Smith says he can’t ignore the possibility of how dangerous the Buccaneers can be on offense next season with Brown in the fold from day one.
Brown appeared in eight games in 2020. He recorded 45 receptions for 483 yards and four touchdowns. In the Super Bowl against the Chiefs, Brown caught five balls for 22 yards and one touchdown.
Smith thinks Brown and Brady can wreak havoc on defenses in 2021 with a full training camp together. The ESPN pundit also believes the seven-time Pro Bowler is better than Mike Evans and Chris Godwin when he’s healthy and not acting up off the field.
If the Buccaneers re-sign Chris Godwin and can only bring back Antonio Brown or Rob Gronkowski, Stephen A. Smith thinks Tampa Bay should sign Brown since he’s still a superstar in the NFL. While that move would help the team on offense, it wouldn’t sit well with women who support the Buccaneers.
Some women Buccaneers fans don’t like Antonio Brown
Several women Buccaneers fans and advocates for victims of domestic violence don’t want Antonio Brown back in Tampa Bay. Brown has had multiple accusations of sexual assault levied against him.
Brenda Tracy, a national advocate for women who have been abused, went off on the Buccaneers during the 2020 season after Brown was added to the team. Tracy is a survivor of gang rape.
“(The Bucs are) prioritizing winning over human life,” Tracy said. “And for me, as an activist and a survivor, it’s disgusting. You’re looking at a man who has proven himself to be abusive. We’ve seen text messages, we have reports, we have other behavior that make us think this could really be true. It’s not just, like, behavior out of the blue, right? You see a lot of bad behavior from him ongoing. … The messaging really is that winning matters the most.”
50% of Buccaneers fans are women. Even though Antonio Brown is a good player, many women in Tampa Bay don’t want to see him back next season.