They’ve got time to make a decision, and they’re going to take advantage of the time they have.
Per a league source, the Buccaneers are considering cutting receiver Antonio Brown in the aftermath of the news that he supplied the team and the league with a fake vaccination card.
When Brown joined the team in 2020, coach Bruce Arians told Peter King, “He screws up one time, he’s gone.” Speaking to reporters on Friday, Arians admitted that the situation “pisses me off,” and “nothing has been decided” regarding Brown and safety Mike Edwards, both of whom have been suspended three games.
They’re eligible to return on December 20, the day after Tampa’s Week 15 Sunday night game against the Saints.
That’s fifteen days for the Bucs to make a decision about Brown and Edwards. And it’s possible, in theory, that the Bucs cut Brown and keep Edwards, since Edwards didn’t arrive with the same one-false-move warning as Brown did.
There’s another reason not to dump Brown now, if the Bucs have already decided that they will (if they have, they’re keeping it close to the vest). If released now, he’d pass through waivers and then become a free agent. He could land with another team, and that other team could send him a playbook and film and otherwise commence the process of getting him up to speed before Week 16. By waiting to release Brown, Brown’s next team will have less time to get him ready to go.
The X factor in all of this, of course, is quarterback Tom Brady. He wanted Brown in Tampa Bay, despite a variety of off-field issues that made him radioactive to most teams. Brady may want the Bucs to give Brown a second chance, since having Brown on the field gives Brady his best chance at getting Super Bowl victory No. 8. And that’s something that will be remembered far longer than Brown’s misadventures with a fake vaccination card.