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Antonio Brown landing spots: Will Cowboys, other playoff teams claim disgruntled WR off waivers?



Antonio Brown is officially no longer a Buc.

Tampa Bay released Brown on Thursday, finally putting an end to his time with the Buccaneers. The reigning Super Bowl champions decided to cut the wide receiver after he took off his jersey, pads and shirt during Sunday’s win over the Jets and left the field.

The Brown drama has only gotten crazier since then as he has taken aim at members of the team, including Tom Brady and head coach Bruce Arians, and claimed the team ignored his ankle injury and asked him to play through it. Tampa Bay has rebutted Brown’s claim that the team covered up his injury, saying that he was cleared to play.

Now that Brown is no longer a Buccaneer, he hits the waiver wire, meaning any team in the league can place a claim and attempt to sign him ahead of the postseason with the intention of playing him. Several playoff teams might have interest in taking a risk by adding him to the roster to help down the stretch.

MORE: Buccaneers rebut Antonio Brown’s claims about injury cover-up

NFL Network’s Ian Rapaport explained that no team will leak interest in claiming Brown off waivers because another team could then swoop in and grab him before the playoffs, but he did note that the timing of the release gives teams the chance to sign him and have him play in the postseason.

“Like let’s say, I’m not going to pick a team, but let’s just pick a team in the playoffs. One team wants him, well then another team would say, ‘We don’t want this team to get him. We’re going to claim him.’ Everybody would stay completely silent about what they want before the waiver wire hits and then we’ll find out what’s actually out there,” Rapaport said. “… I’d be surprised if anybody claims him because one, there’s a lot there, two, he has said he plans to have ankle surgery.”

As Rapaport said, for a number of reasons, it is unlikely that Brown will be claimed. He has a litany of off-the-field issues, and might not even play if he decides he needs ankle surgery. But if he was to be claimed, which teams might have interest in taking the risk on him? Sporting News takes a look.

Cowboys

Dallas looked to be coming into the playoffs with a strong group of receivers, but Michael Gallup tore his ACL on Sunday, ending his season and making a deep cut into the team’s receiver depth. The team is still led by CeeDee Lamb, Dalton Schultz, Amari Cooper and Cedrick Wilson, but Wilson is primarily a slot receiver and Schultz is a tight end, leaving Lamb and Cooper as the team’s top wide threats.

Signing Brown would of course be a gamble, but the Cowboys haven’t made it past the divisional round of the playoffs since 1995 and are desperate to make a deeper run in the playoffs this time.

MORE: Antonio Brown goes off on social media, takes aim at Bruce Arians, Tom Brady, Alex Guerrero

Cardinals

Yes, the team that just beat the Cowboys might indeed look to keep him out of Dallas’ hands and build up its own receiving depth. Arizona’s top receiver, DeAndre Hopkins, tore his MCL in Week 14. And while he could return during the playoffs, the Cardinals aren’t certain when, or even whether, that will happen.

Without Hopkins on the field, the Cardinals really lack a true No. 1 option for quarterback Kyler Murray. Christian Kirk leads the team with 939 receiving yards, but he’s primarily been a slot receiver, and A.J. Green isn’t the same explosive player he used to be with the Bengals. Brown would almost immediately become Murray’s most reliable target should Arizona bring him in.

Chiefs

Kansas City feels like a team that is perennially loaded on offense, but if there’s one area it could use the additional help in, it might be wide receiver. Tyreek Hill continues to remain one of the league’s best weapons, but Bryon Pringle, Demarcus Robinson, Josh Gordon and Mecole Hardman haven’t stepped up to give Patrick Mahomes another threat out wide that he can count on.

Given the number of options Kansas City has, Brown wouldn’t be as pressured to immediately step up the way he might at other destinations, but he’d still be certain to become a popular target in the high-powered offense.

MORE: Why did Antonio Brown leave the Buccaneers?

Packers

Antonio Brown and Aaron Rodgers playing together? That would be an interesting combination to say the least. The Packers haven’t had the same injury problems at receiver that the Cowboys or Cardinals have had, but they have been trying to go all in this year, and the depth after Davante Adams at wide receiver isn’t as strong as other teams.

They were rumored as a team for Odell Beckham Jr. earlier in the season but missed out with Beckham landing in Los Angeles. Brown would have to fall past several teams to reach Green Bay on the waiver wire, but if he’s available, why not make a move for Brown now?

NFL waiver order

The waiver order in the NFL is set by the reverse order of the current league standings.

So for any of the playoff teams hoping to sign him, they will need to hope he passes through all the non-playoff teams first.

Here is the reverse order of the standings:

  1. Jaguars
  2. Lions
  3. Texans
  4. Giants
  5. Jets
  6. Panthers
  7. Bears
  8. Seahawks
  9. Washington
  10. Falcons
  11. Browns
  12. Broncos
  13. Vikings
  14. Ravens
  15. Dolphins
  16. Saints
  17. Steelers
  18. Colts
  19. Raiders
  20. Chargers
  21. Eagles
  22. 49ers
  23. Bills
  24. Bengals
  25. Patriots
  26. Cardinals
  27. Cowboys
  28. Chiefs
  29. Titans
  30. Rams
  31. Buccaneers
  32. Packers



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