The New Orleans Saints missed the Odell Beckham Jr. raffle lottery, but that doesn’t mean they should pick up a wide receiver that’s arguably more trouble than OBJ is.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers wideout Antonio Brown is set to be a free agent in 2022, and so far the Bucs have shown they don’t necessarily need his talent.
Should Brown look for a new team next year, he could find a very willing suitor in the NOLA Saints.
PFF recently ranked the top 75 players expected to enter free agency in the offseason and suggested that the Saints could consider picking up a high-profile talent like Brown.
"Brown works in any scheme and in any position. He would be best suited to a scheme that taps into that versatility and already moves their receivers around and interchanges roles. Tampa Bay remains his best fit and perhaps most likely option to re-sign, but New Orleans would also be an intriguing option."
At 33 years old, Brown suffered an ankle injury in Week 6 and hasn’t fully recovered since, but given his size and stature, he’s been surprisingly durable throughout his 12-year career.
His glory days in Pittsburgh may be behind him, but the four-time All Pro still put together very respectable numbers in Tampa this season.
New Orleans Saints should think carefully about picking up Antonio Brown in 2022
In five games, he had 29 catches for 418 yards and four scores, averaging 14.4 yards per catch. His 86.3 receiver grade per PFF ranked fourth among wide receivers, and he proved he could be just as productive in an uber-competitive receiver room with Chris Godwin and Mike Evans.
In New Orleans, he would no doubt assume WR1 duties, and his versatility could give Sean Payton a favorite new weapon to use in lieu of Taysom Hill.
But there are also other off-field traits not noted on his stat sheet that must be taken into consideration.
As was reported in early December, Brown is currently serving a suspension for misrepresenting his COVID-19 vaccine card.
In April, he settled a lawsuit brought by his former trainer who had accused him of rape and sexual assault.
NOLA initially steered clear of OBJ due to his diva antics in Cleveland, but Antonio Brown would open a whole different Pandora’s Box.
Besides, the Saints already have Michael Thomas to deal with, if they don’t end up trading him next year.
There’s no question that the Saints need wide receivers to build a playoff-contending team, but chemistry matters as much as talent, and there’s a very realistic scenario in which Brown would set the Saints’ locker room on fire.
If the Saints want to find long-term success with whatever quarterback they end up choosing, they need to protect their future, too. Right now, Brown simply poses too much of a liability.