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Fitz, Bucs Waiting on Antonio Brown?

Super Bowl LV Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Antonio Brown and the Tampa Bay Bucs are seemingly at an impasse with regards to coming to terms on a new contract. Brown believes he deserves more slices of the pepperoni pie than the Bucs are offering.

Meanwhile, Bucs’ LB Devin White and Brown have been in a twitter duel in which White has been expressing his frustration with Brown for not agreeing to terms yet, while Brown is expressing his frustration over what he considers to be a low-ball offer from the Bucs.

https://www.foxnews.com/sports/antonio-brown-bucs-re-sign-devin-white-waiting

In order to add fuel to the fire, Antonio Brown has been working out with the Ravens’ Lamar Jackson and AB’s cousin WR Marquise Brown. Pundits have been speculating that if the Ravens or Seahawks offer him a more attractive package (vis-a-vis g-ted money), then he would sign the deal and move on from good friend Tom Brady and the 2020 Super Bowl Champion Bucs.

Bruce Arians and a number of Tampa Bay Bucs have been lauding AB’s contributions to the team and the locker room —- they clearly want him back. BA went as far at to call AB, “a model citizen.”

But, as has been the case for a few years now with AB, he’s not out of the clear yet with regard to his off-the-field transgressions. His current trail for his alleged sexual assault is set for December. Not only could this jeopardize Brown’s commitment to his 2021 team, administrators, coaches and teammates on any or all of the teams Brown has played for or is currently playing for could be subpoenaed —- and depending on the outcome of the trial, Brown could face yet another NFL suspension from Roger Goodell.

In this timely rant, Colin Cowherd perfectly spells out the risks of any team throwing g-ted money at AB this season. In fact, one of the most cogent contexts that Cowherd mentions is how deep the 2021 NFL Draft is at WR.

But, here we are less than two week away from the draft and very uncharacteristically Cardinals’ WR Larry Fitzgerald has not indicated what his plans are for the upcoming season. By now, one might imagine that if he was going to retire, he would have done so already.

So, why such a lengthy wait for Fitz?

Could it be that the Bucs are waiting on what Antonio Brown decided to do, and if AB moves on to the Ravens or Seahawks, then the Bucs and Tom Brady want to pivot and throw a quick post to Mr. January, Larry Fitzgerald?

One might ask, well if the Bucs might be courting Fitz, then should the Cardinals make a move for Antonio Brown? If the Bucs, Ravens and Seahawks are all interested, then why shouldn’t the Cardinals be interested?

There are number of coaches and players in house who have worked or practiced with Antonio Brown before:

  • Sean Kugler
  • James Saxon
  • Kelvin Beachum
  • James Connor
  • Kyler Murray (not only has Kyler practiced with AB, of course, Kyler had great success throwing to Marquise at Oklahoma.

Then, there is Rodney Hudson, who saw first-hand how AB imploded in 2019 during his “New York minute” stay with the Raiders, which led to Brown’s swift and tumultuous release.

Just as BA and the Bucs have been waiting on AB, Kliff Kingsbury and the Cardinals have been waiting on Fitz. Kingsbury has gone as far as to say, “I hope he (Fitz) plays for three more years.”

Having let TE Dan Arnold go catch passes from Sam Darnold in Panthers’ blue, the Cardinals have left the light on at the “Y” receiver position.

Of course, the great irony would be that now that Steve Keim and the Cardinals are “all-in” on trying to win this year and next and have basically re-defined what good veteran leadership looks like on and off the field, now more than ever, would be a superb time for Fitz to return.

There has been speculation that Fitz and Kyler Murray have not been on the same page, but interestingly, when Kyler Murray recently posted his plea for a uniform change, he included #11 with “Fitzgerald” on the back of one of the new uniform ideas.

Here’s Johnny!

There has been added speculation that last season Fitz didn’t particularly like some of the players on the roster, but was doing his best to work with them. If that’s true, then one has to wonder who those players are and if they are still on the roster.

Moreover, in terms of Fitz’s understandable frustration, is how difficult it is for any “main man” Hall of Fame caliber WR to suddenly find himself playing 4th fiddle on offense.

But, what would Fitz be in Tampa Bay? With the Bucs he might be a 5th fiddle. However, the main difference for being a 4th fiddle in Arizona to being a 5th fiddle in Tampa Bay would be Fitz’s complete trust and belief in Tom Brady —- and, of course, the fact that the Bucs’ chances to repeat as Super Bowl champions are extremely high.

There’s an age factor here too —- Fitz and Brady are both on the verge of treating their hair with Grecian formula number nine. Whereas, Kyler is a young, precocious whippersnapper who brings a whole new (less traditional) set of skills to the QB position and the Cardinals’ offense.

Commentary:

Like my fellow millions of loyal Birdgangers, I want Fitz back, as ardently as ever. I don’t want Antonio Brown. I trust and have complete faith in Fitz. Fitz passes the Tillman test (what I have been calling as the theme of the Cardinals’ personnel philosophy this off-season) with 17 years of flying colors.

Antonio Brown is a superb practice player and, when he’s in good shape and focused, he is still one of the most dynamic WRs in the NFL. But Brown’s baggage (which includes a previous PED violation), his volatility and his impending trial (during the height of the playoff run) are impossible to condone.

The Cardinals have been so wonderfully diligent and persistent this off-season at developing the right kind of championship flavored leadership, work ethic and attitude.

Therefore, let us hope that Larry Fitzgerald is wearing a new uniform in 2021 —- as in the new uniforms that Kyler Murray and Cardinals’ fan have been clamoring about for weeks and months now.

Fitz always and forever belongs on The Big Red!

San Francisco 49ers v Arizona Cardinals Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

L-A-R-R-Y! L-A-R-R-Y!