The well-connected Ian Rapoport thinks Antonio Brown will play in the NFL this year, and these five teams should be at the front of the line to sign him.
It’s been a heck of a 12-18 months for Antonio Brown. He made it unpalatable for the Pittsburgh Steelers to keep him last year, and his time with the Oakland Raiders after being traded didn’t even last to Week 1. He landed with the New England Patriots, and played one game before some troubling off-field issues surfaced and he was let go.
The NFL office seems to be dragging its feet on resolution of Brown’s situation, and a suspension is surely coming no matter what. But he has been seen working out in places with NFL quarterbacks, and speculation over who might sign him is never too far away.
There’s no denying Brown’s talent. From 2013-18 he averaged 114 receptions, 1,524 yards and 11 touchdowns per season. But he is also now 32 years old, with most of a season out and the prospect of a lengthy suspension keeping him out well into the 2020 season.
The more casual setting of the “Pat McAfee Show” has to be considered here, but Ian Rapoport of NFL Network thinks Brown will play in the NFL this year.
Rapoport points to the obvious unknown of how long Brown will be suspended. But his status as the lead insider for the league’s media operation should be noted, so perhaps something is looming regarding clarity on Brown’s status.
The risk-reward equation on Brown now tilts significantly toward reward with virtually no risk, since he’s in no position to make demands. Any disruption he creates can and will lead to him being let go quickly, and he’d likely never play in the NFL again.
So which 5 NFL teams might sign Antonio Brown?
5. Houston Texans
Rapoport specifically mentioned the Texans as a suitor for Brown. To be entirely fair, Houston’s head coach/general manager, Bill O’Brien, has given up so much draft pick capital he may as well keep going all in until he can’t anymore. Trading DeAndre Hopkins was bad, but a healthy wide receiver trio of Brown (assuming he’s well adjusted), Brandin Cooks and Randall Cobb would actually look pretty good.
With Deshaun Watson at quarterback, Houston would be an appealing spot for Brown. Any past visions of him forming a dynamic duo with Hopkins are long gone, but the Texans are an easy way to say start this list with a fresh report backing their interest in Brown.