Wide receiver Antonio Brown is returning to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on a one-year deal worth up to $6.25 million according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network.
Brown's agent, Ed Wasielewski, told NFL Network that the deal includes $3.1 million in guaranteed money and a $2 million signing bonus.
The move most likely won't become official until following this week's 2021 NFL Draft, according to Greg Auman of The Athletic. Prior to the news breaking, the Bucs only had $934,812 in space under the salary cap and will now have to create space to afford Brown's signing and incoming draft picks, Auman explained.
Brown recently settled a civil lawsuit with his former trainer, Britney Taylor, in which Taylor accused Brown of sexual assault. Bucs general manager Jason Licht explained that the lawsuit was not a deciding factor on if Tampa Bay would look to retain Brown in pursuit of a consecutive Super Bowl victory.
"It's always good when there is some resolution but we signed him, like you said, last year with the civil case looming," Licht last week regarding Brown's legal situation. "So, all I can go off of is what we saw of Antonio on our team this year and, you know, he obviously was a good player, but he was a great teammate.
"So, to have this resolved, it certainly helps but it wasn't, you know, that isn't necessarily the deciding factor of whether or not we're going to continue to talk," Licht added.
Brown had to complete an eight-game suspension by the NFL for violating the league's personal conduct policy last year, which led to a game on the sidelines with the Buccaneers after signing a one-year deal with the team in October. Although allegations against Brown were disturbing, the Bucs took a chance on Brown and it paid off.
After starting the season late, the veteran wide receiver began to produce more on the field catching 20 passes for 266 yards and four touchdowns in the last three games of the regular season.
In the postseason, Brown missed the NFC Championship game against the Green Bay Packers due to a knee injury suffered in the Divisional Round. Brown was able to return for Super Bowl LV vs. the Kansas City Chiefs and caught five passes for 22 yards including one touchdown before halftime.
Brown is just one of many free agents to return to the Bucs following their championship season. He joins pass-rusher Shaq Barett, tight end Rob Gronkowski, linebacker Lavonte David, running back Leonard Fournette, and defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh as key re-signings this offseason. The team also franchise-tagged receiver Chris Godwin.
The big question remains: How do the Bucs plan on creating cap space to afford Brown and other free agents?
Stay tuned to AllBucs.com for further updates on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and 2021 NFL free agency.