The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have retained all of their starters and significant contributors that had been scheduled to strike free of charge company this offseason, other than just one: Vast receiver Antonio Brown.
Brown signed with the Buccaneers halfway as a result of the 2020 period and appreciated a effective 50 percent-season and Tremendous Bowl run. In 11 video games overall, Brown caught 51 passes for 564 yards and 6 touchdowns, earning a $250,000 contract incentive in Week 17 for standard-year receptions thanks to the enable of quarterback and mate Tom Brady.
Now that Brown’s career has been revived, immediately after his slipping out with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Oakland Raiders in 2018-19, he is testing the waters of free of charge company. Almost two months eliminated from the commencing of the new league calendar year, Brown has nonetheless to re-sign with the Bucs or find a residence somewhere else.
Potentially, the Buccaneers will sooner or later bring Brown again on an very affordable deal. They’re currently $3.84 million over the 2021 income cap, in accordance to Around the Cap, as functioning again Leonard Fournette‘s 1-yr offer has hit the publications.
For a when, as Fournette remained unsigned, analysts speculated no matter if or not the Bucs would pick a managing back again with a significant select – probably even in the first round. Irrespective of whether or not Fournette returned, projected starter Ronald Jones II is established to be a free agent in 2022, so the Buccaneers could have afforded to decide on an all-around back again with a prime selection to enjoy on passing downs as a rookie before starting up in 12 months two.
The exact same logic can be used to the No. 3/flex-slot wide receiver placement. Brown is now outdoors of the team’s plans in 2021, at the very least till he signals the dotted line. Scotty Miller has built numerous significant-time performs for Tampa Bay but has nevertheless to eclipse above 41% of the team’s offensive snaps for each period in his two-calendar year job. Brown was on the area for 30% of the Bucs offensive snaps a 12 months back, in half the games.
The Buccaneers could select to swap Brown by using the NFL Draft alternatively of adding extra pressure to the cap predicament. They have loads of possibilities, as the extensive receiver class is particularly sturdy for the 2nd yr in a row.
Chris Godwin is extra than able of manning the slot, and will be all around for at minimum one particular more year on the franchise tag (and most likely more – the Bucs want to retain him extended-term). Nevertheless, Brown or any receiver that replaces him will have to be in a position to flex within and out. In Bruce Arians’ typically vertical offense, such a receiver will require to pose some form of deep menace, but is a prospect for made touches these kinds of as screens, reverses, jet sweeps, and fast RPO targets.
Florida’s Kadarius Toney is an very intriguing selection ought to he be out there to the Buccaneers at the No. 32 choose. Despite the fact that the huge majority of his snaps were being in the slot, he from time to time flexed out-extensive and was usually used on pre-snap motions equally to get the ball in his fingers and diagnose coverages. A former large college quarterback, Toney threw a pair of passes in a UF uniform, took snaps as a Wildcat quarterback, and gained some handoffs also.
Toney is one of the most unique getting prospects, well, at any time, because of to his get in touch with stability, natural potential to bend, and evade tacklers. Individuals techniques translated to his getting video game in 2020 which led to his most effective period as a move-catcher, by far. He can go on to establish as an all-around route runner but is breathtaking to observe different on underneath routes. From there, he is a yards-right after-contact machine.
Tampa Bay could be better suited to choose a defensive lineman or edge rusher in the first round given upcoming group wants and to increase the depth up entrance, but Toney would make perception at No. 32 if he ended up to tumble that significantly.
Elijah Moore from Ole Miss is a further prospect that has invested a ton of time in the slot all through his college or university career, but expanded his role noticeably in Lane Kiffin’s offense this past season with 108 snaps out extensive. Moore was dominant in his junior time and was a single of if not the fastest receiver in college or university football this previous season, hitting that mark in 7 games.
Despite the fact that he’s a more compact-framed receiver at 5-9.5, Moore gained 11-of-15 contested capture battles in 2020 according to Pro Football Concentration. He posted a burning 4.35-2nd 40-property sprint at Ole Miss’s professional day with spectacular alter-of-path and explosion scores as very well.
Moore is a massive-perform risk with the speed to stretch the industry in the Buccaneers’ offense. He, much too, would flex into the backfield and movement on sure plays to get the ball into his hands guiding and close to the line of scrimmage just before allowing his velocity and elusiveness go to function. Moore has extensively been regarded as a day two, probably spherical two prospect but could ascend into the first round discussion after his professional working day.
If not that early, the Bucs could nonetheless fill Brown’s position on day two or even into working day a few. Tylan Wallace of Oklahoma State is an explosive receiver who has exterior-and-in adaptability in that buy and a knack for earning large-time catches. He could be a cut price-buy candidate if Tampa Bay covets a receiver early on but not in the very first spherical. Wallace experienced an typical focus on depth of 14.8 yards with the Cowboys in 2020, per PFF, even even though he posted a profession-very low of 15.6 yards per catch – he is definitely capable of using on an intermediate-to-deep part in the offense.
Other choices incorporate Purdue’s Rondale Moore, North Carolina’s Dazz Newsome, Western Michigan’s D’Wayne Eskridge, Clemson’s Amari Rodgers, Southern California’s Amon-Ra St. Brown, Auburn’s Anthony Schwartz, and so on. It can be a truly deep receiver course.
Ideally, the receiver of selection will be ready to participate in outside-then-in based mostly on Brown and Miller’s snap shares out broad and in the slot, but Godwin is also a established outside receiver and could enhance his outdoors workload to reward the rookie. We also feel that this receiver ought to offer you exclusive teams price, particularly as a returner. Brown has an outstanding record returning punts despite the fact that people capabilities weren’t used with the Bucs in 2020 past 1 rep.
Each and every of the receivers over have both played in the slot, within-and-out, and/or have contributed meaningfully on distinctive teams for their programs. If the Bucs elect to not meet Brown’s agreement calls for, these are just a few of choices for Tampa Bay in the impending draft.