Antonio Brown Makes Free Agency Decision
By Jason Hall
April 28, 2021
Antonio Brown is returning to the defending champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
NFL.com reports Brown and the Buccaneers have agreed to a one-year deal worth up to $6.25 million, which his agent, Ed Wasielewski, confirmed includes a $2 million signing bonus among $3.1 million fully guaranteed.
Tampa Bay will now have to make some roster adjustments to fit Brown's deal with just $351,149 in salary cap space, the lowest of all 32 NFL teams, ESPN reports.
Brown signed with the Buccaneers prior to Week 9 of the 2020 NFL season following an eight-game suspension for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy. The former Pro Bowl wide receiver's deal included a base salary of $750,000, with incentives to push the deal to $2.5 million, reuniting him with quarterback Tom Brady and allowing him the chance to turn around his career after being cut by the New England Patriots in September 2019.
Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians initially said Brown "was not a fit" for the team's locker room during the 2020 offseason, but said Brown had "matured" after meeting with the wide receiver in October amid numerous Tampa Bay players experiencing injuries.
Brown continued to win Arians' trust, with the coach calling him a "model citizen" during the 2020 NFL season and producing on the football field, which included catching a touchdown reception during the Bucs' 31-9 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV.
During the 2020 season, however, Brown still faced numerous legal issues, which included being on felony probation for a battery charge against a delivery truck driver and an ongoing sexual assault lawsuit.
Last week, reached a settlement with a former trainer for accused him of sexually assaulting her.
Attorney David Hass announced Thursday (April 22) that Brown's legal dispute with gymnast Britney Taylor dating back to 2019 has been settled in a joint statement with a representative for Brown, Alana Burstyn, obtained by NBC News.
Taylor sued Brown alleging he sexually assaulted her three times while she was working as his personal trainer. The wide receiver denied the allegations and later countersued Taylor, claiming her initial lawsuit stemmed from his refusal to invest more than $1.5 million in her gymnastics business.
"Antonio and Britney have been friends for over a decade. Several years ago they almost became business partners. Recently, they were involved in aggressive litigation," Hass said.
"Having reflected on their relationship, both feel that the time has come to move on. Antonio is grateful for Britney's excellent training assistance," the statement said. "They are pleased that Antonio is doing so well with the Bucs and has a ring. Their dispute is resolved and they wish each other great continued success."
“My team is excited about moving ahead with many opportunities and requests for Antonio," Burstyn added.
NBC News reports a joint stipulation for dismissal of the claims was filed in Broward County, Florida on Wednesday (April 21), but the terms of the settlement were not made clear as of Thursday.
Taylor's initial lawsuit accused Brown of sexually assaulting her twice in 2017 and claimed she stopped working for him until he contacted her to apologize in 2018.
The lawsuit alleges she resumed working for the wide receiver in April 2018 during off-season weekends until Brown forcibly raped her a month later in his bedroom as she attempted to physically fight him off.
Brown's countersuit claims Taylor initiated a romantic relationship with him and any sex they had was consensual.
Brown spent the majority of his career with the Pittsburgh Steelers before a well-publicized off-field dispute led to a trade to the then-Oakland Raiders, which resulted in him being released before playing in a regular season game. The wide receiver signed with the New England Patriots shortly after his release and appeared in one game before being released again amid news of the allegations.
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