NFL Roundtable: Will Antonio Brown push the Bucs over the top?
Every week we sit down with BetAmerica Extra columnists Ashley Anderson, James Scully and Scott Shapiro to discuss the latest news from around the NFL. This week they weigh in on Antonio Brown’s fit in Tampa Bay, Dallas’ quarterback dilemma, and the bright futures of Baker Mayfield and Joe Burrow.
What are your expectations for Antonio Brown after signing a free agent deal with the Buccaneers?
Ashley: AB could have had a successful season last year with Tom Brady in New England, had the Patriots not been forced to cut ties amid Brown’s legal issues. He and Brady seem to have some sort of connection, and if anyone can keep Brown in line, it’s the six-time Super Bowl winner.
In the receiver’s lone appearance with New England in 2019, he caught four passes for 56 yards and one touchdown against the Dolphins. I think he still has the talent to succeed, and apparently has stayed in football shape despite, at one point, saying he’d never play in the NFL again. If AB can keep out of trouble, he will make a loaded Bucs offense all the more dangerous.
James: I expect Tampa Bay’s offense to become more formidable with Antonio Brown. The elite wideout may need a little time to get up to speed with the new system, but Brown made an immediate impact upon joining Tom Brady for one game last year, leading all New England receivers with four catches for 56 yards and a touchdown. After his offseason troubles the past two years, Brown will be motivated to prove his value for a Super Bowl contender, and Tampa Bay will be able to lean on their new all-star receiver for big plays in certain situations. Ask Patrick Mahomes if an overload of weapons is a bad thing!
Scott: Antonio Brown is one of the best wide receivers to play in the NFL this century. Much like Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski, I expect Brown to take a little while to get back into game shape, but once he is fit he should be a major contributor for a team that already has one of the league’s best receiving corps. However, his target share and overall productivity will be somewhat limited because there is only on ball and so many mouths to feed.
Baker Mayfield and Joe Burrow put on a show Sunday during the Battle of Ohio. Which Former Heisman winner will have the better career when all is said and done?
Ashley: Mayfield’s inconsistency has been the one constant during his three seasons in the league. Burrow has already made his share of rookie mistakes, but he is also playing behind a far worse offensive line and is surrounded by less talent on offense. However, through seven games, the Bengals quarterback is completing 67% of his passes, compared to Mayfield’s 63%, and has racked up 2,023 passing yards and 12 total touchdowns. I like where Burrow is headed and see him achieving the better career.
James: Joe Burrow, and I don’t think it will be close. He has to stay healthy behind a bad offensive line, but the kid is special. Burrow possesses the arm talent – the rookie quarterback throws receivers open constantly - but what impresses me most are the intangibles. Cincinnati players rally around his demeanor and leadership skills because they believe Burrow is going to take them places. I think Burrow’s future is unlimited -- he’s got the potential to be a top five quarterback eventually -- and the ceiling isn’t as high with Baker Mayfield.
Scott: Joe Burrow will definitely have the better NFL career when all is said and done. The 2019 Heisman Trophy winner has shown tremendous poise in his rookie season despite being pressured often and sacked a league high 28 times through seven games. Once the Bengals bolster their offensive line and Burrow gets a season or two under his belt the sky is the limit for the former LSU star.
The Cowboys are now without Dak Prescott AND Andy Dalton after the "Red Rifle" suffered a concussion against Washington. Should Dallas make a move at QB to save its season?
Ashley: The Cowboys are quickly becoming the Jets of the NFC East. The difference is, Dallas can still make the postseason, so it should seek a low-cost trade at quarterback. The Cowboys didn’t go after Jameis Winston — who eventually signed a one-year, $1.1 million deal in New Orleans — in free agency, but he could be the best fit in Kellen Moore’s offense. Winston was the only quarterback who passed for more yards than Dak Prescott last season, and LASIK surgery may have actually helped him eliminate all those interceptions, for all we know. I would also love to see Ryan Fitzpatrick get a start with his ninth different team, but I don’t think Miami will let him go just yet.
James: No, Dallas should be sellers before the trade deadline because they can’t salvage the season. The Cowboys are not contenders in the NFC East – they’ll be fortunate to win any more games this season -- and chasing a victory or two with a new quarterback won’t bring them respectability. They need to shift their focus to rebuilding so they can restock a horrendous defense and deteriorating offensive line. And they have some quality assets to trade for future draft picks so they can rebuild.
Scott: The Cowboys have a ton of issues and a 2-5 record, but they are still in the mix since they play in perhaps the worst division in NFL history. Therefore, if Dallas can get a quarterback at low cost it would still make sense to make a move that could somewhat save their season. Ryan Fitzpatrick and Sam Darnold are the two signal callers that make the most sense midway through the 2020 season.