The last time Antonio Brown was on the same team as Tom Brady it was because he got a monstrous one-year, $15 million deal with the Patriots. This time around, Brown won't be making anywhere near that much, even if he maxes out the deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
In case you missed it over the weekend, Brown signed a one-year contract with the Bucs that will pay him $1.416 million in base salary. However, since the base salary is pro-rated, Brown will only make a total of $749,647 and that's only if he's on the field for the final nine weeks of the season.
Brown will also have $1.75 million in bonus money available to him, but it won't be easy to earn. To make the rest of the money, Brown is going to have to stay out of trouble, because the only way he's going to be able to max out his contract is if he's available every week for the final nine weeks of the season.
Let's take a look at the incentives (via SI.com):
- Active roster bonus ($250,000): Brown will be eligible to play in a total of eight regular season games with Tampa and he'll be getting a $31,250 every time he's on the active roster. If he's on the roster for all eight games, that's a total of $250,000.
- Touchdown bonus ($250,000): If Brown catches six touchdown passes and the Buccaneers make the playoffs, he'll pocket another $250,000 in bonus money.
- Receptions bonus ($250,000): If Brown can rack up 45 receptions in eight games and the Buccaneers make the playoffs, then he's going to get another bonus worth a quarter of a million dollars.
- Yardage bonus ($250,000): This one is tied to the amount of receiving yards Brown has this year. If he can hit the 650-yard mark, then he'll get another $250,000 in bonus money.
- Playing time bonus plus Super Bowl bonus ($750,000): This is the biggest bonus Brown can earn this year, but it's not going to be easy to get. For Brown to earn this one, not only will the Buccaneers have to win the Super Bowl, but he also has to be on the field for 35% of the offensive snaps this season. That basically means he's going to have to be on the field a lot once he's eligible to play starting in Week 9.
If we don't include the Super Bowl bonus, the other four incentives seem attainable. To collect on all of them, all Brown would have to do is play in the eight games he's eligible for and then average 5.63 receptions, 81.25 yards and 0.75 touchdowns per game. If he does that, he'll get an extra $1 million in bonus money on top of his $750,000 in base salary.
The last time Brown played an entire season he led the NFL with 15 touchdowns while also racking up 104 catches for 1,297 yards back in 2018. However, the 32-year-old has only played in one game since December 2018, so there's no way to know if he's going to have to shake some rust off or if he'll be as good as he was the last time he was on the field. If he gets back to his 2018 level and can stay out of trouble, he's going to earn a lot of extra money this season.
So far, things seem to be going well in Tampa. Following Brown's first practice this week, Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians said the receiver looks great.
"He looks fantastic. I think we had really good conversations today, he and I," Arians said of Brown on Wednesday. "He was in the meetings and everything. And he's working with Anthony Piroli and the strength staff. He looks in great shape. Yeah, ready to go next week."
Although Brown won't be on the field this week as he finishes his out his eight-game suspension, he is eligible to play in Tampa Bay's Week 9 game, which is a home showdown against the New Orleans Saints. If Brown puts up big numbers, that will potentially set him up for getting a bigger contract in March when he becomes a free agent.