AP Photo/Matt Rourke
As Antonio Brown prepares to return to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ lineup Sunday, his incentive to play well arguably has never been higher.
Adam Schefter of ESPN reported Brown has attainable bonuses in his contract that could land him up to $1 million. He needs at least 21 receptions, 382 yards and two touchdowns over the final three weeks to trigger bonuses for receptions (50), yards (800) and touchdowns (seven) in his contract. Each bonus is worth $333,333.
The seven-time Pro Bowler returns to the lineup Sunday after being suspended for the last three games after misrepresenting his vaccination status. He’s been in the lineup only five games this season because of a combination of injuries, a COVID-19 diagnosis and the suspension.
Safety Mike Edwards also falsified his vaccination status and was suspended three games. Both players are set to return this week, with Brown getting another chance despite coach Bruce Arians previously putting in a zero-tolerance policy for the troubled wideout.
“It’s in the best interest of our football team,” Arians told reporters this week. “Both of those guys have served their time, and we’ll welcome them back.”
When Brown has been on the field, he’s flashed All-Pro skills. He’s compiled 29 receptions for 418 yards and four touchdowns, posting three games where he’s had 90 yards and a touchdown.
The Bucs are expected to rely heavily on Brown down the stretch after losing Chris Godwin to a torn ACL and Leonard Fournette and Mike Evans to hamstring injuries. Godwin will miss the remainder of the 2021 season, while Fournette won’t return until the playoffs. Evans’ injury is considered less severe, but Brown will be the Bucs’ WR1 for the time being.