After months and months of waiting, the NFL finally finished their Antonio Brown investigation. According to the league, Brown will face an eight-game suspension for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy.
This is likely the first domino that needed to fall for Brown to find a new NFL home. Teams don’t mind dealing with colorful personalities if the talent is there, and Brown is one of the most talented receivers in the league. Now that all 32 teams know the ramifications of signing him, let’s take a look at which organizations are most likely to take a gamble on the star receiver.
Antonio Brown Possible Team Fits
Antonio Brown and the Baltimore Ravens are a match made in heaven. Led by reigning MVP Lamar Jackson, a near-unstoppable running game, and a ridiculously talented defense, the Ravens have everything they need to make a serious push for a Super Bowl. The lone weakness on their team is at the wide receiver position, where they have Marquise Brown and not much else.
Combining the two Browns would arguably give Baltimore a top-five receiving duo, assuming Marquise is capable of making a second-year leap. This isn’t exactly a pass-heavy offense, and that could rub Antonio Brown the wrong way. However, it’s hard to imagine any team stopping this offense if everything goes right.
Let Russ cook! Russell Wilson is arguably the best quarterback in the NFL not named Patrick Mahomes, yet Seattle insists on a run-heavy style of play. However, building a receiving trio this good would give Pete Carroll and company no choice but to throw the ball early and often. Tyler Lockett is annually one of the most underrated receivers in football, DK Metcalf looked like a future star as a rookie, and Wilson throws one of the prettiest deep balls in football.
The Seahawks have tried to upgrade their third receiver spot over the past few seasons, and even signed Josh Gordon late in 2019. Barring off-field issues, Brown is practically guaranteed to make an impact right out of the gate. If he keeps his head on straight, Brown could be the missing piece to Seattle’s first Super Bowl since 2013.
San Francisco 49ers
Deebo Samuel should be back on the field by the time Brown’s suspension is over, but that shouldn’t stop the San Francisco 49ers from trying to upgrade the wide receiver position. Samuel looked like a stud as a rookie, but foot injuries are anything but an easy recovery. Even if Samuel comes back at 100%, the team never truly replaced the departed Emmanuel Sanders. Like the other teams on this list, the San Francisco 49ers are very much ready to compete for a Super Bowl and could use that one last piece to put the roster over the top.
Carson Wentz needs some more help. Right now, the Eagles are banking on DeSean Jackson to stay healthy for a full season and for first-round rookie Jalen Reagor to make an immediate contribution right out of the gate. It’s hard to imagine both of those scenarios happening, and Marquise Goodwin opting out only removes yet another security blanket for Wentz. Philadelphia’s biggest problem in 2019 was the lack of reliable weapons, and history appears to be repeating itself. Once his suspension ends, Brown could immediately be the top option in the passing attack and provide Wentz with a much-needed reliable target.
Dark Horse Antonio Brown Team: New York Jets
Unlike the other teams on this list, the New York Jets have no chance of winning the Super Bowl in 2020. Chances are, Brown will want to sign with a true contender, and there will probably be a team or two willing to take a shot on the troubled star. However, if his market is underwhelming, he could sign with the New York Jets.
Sam Darnold hasn’t lived up to his pre-draft hype, but it’s hard to blame him for the shortcomings. The New York Jets have done nothing to support the USC product, consistently giving him one of the worst supporting casts in the league. Signing Brown would finally allow Darnold to play with a great talent. If he can’t make it work with Brown, then the Jets know they need to find somebody else.
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