Antonio Brown’s mid-game meltdown cost him much more than his spot with the Buccaneers

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Week 17 victory over the New York Jets featured one of the more bizarre tantrums and spectacular mid-game exits in recent NFL memory. After reportedly refusing to re-enter the game when asked to by coach Bruce Arians, wide receiver Antonio Brown took off his jersey and shoulder pads before chucking his shirt into the grandstands, streaking through the end zone topless and exiting the field through the tunnel.

The nature of Brown’s actions predictably had grave consequences, as the former All-Pro wide receiver was immediately cut by Tampa Bay following the conclusion of the game. Beyond being left in the swamps of the Meadowlands in disgrace – Brown did not even get to travel back with the Buccaneers – the meltdown also resulted in him missing out on a number of contract incentives he was close to reaching.

As noted in a tweet by Spotrac, Brown had needed eight more catches to unlock a $333,333 contract bonus, 55 more receiving yards to unlock another $333,333 bonus, and only one more receiving touchdown to unlock one more $333,333 bonus. All three bonuses would have amounted to $1 million.

Given the nature of the game – the Buccaneers came back to win the game on the final drive, and Brown would have been relied upon heavily thanks to the absence of Chris Godwin – and the fact that there’s another week in the season, there’s a reasonable chance that all three incentives could have been reached by the time the Buccaneers turned their attention to the playoffs.

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Brown, who was picked up by the Buccaneers midway through the 2020 season at the urging of quarterback Tom Brady, had been playing on a one-year, $3.1 million contract signed in April 2021. According to Spotrac, Brown had incentives to reach 50 and 70 receptions, 600 and 800 yards, as well as five and seven touchdowns. Brown would also have earned a $250,000 bonus if the Buccaneers won the Super Bowl and Brown played 45 percent of the team’s snaps.

After being cut, Brown will likely finish his 2022 season with 42 receptions for 545 yards and four touchdowns in seven games. Prior to storming out of Sunday’s game, Brown had caught three passes for 26 yards.

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