Mike Edwards

Chiefs, S Mike Edwards Agree To Terms

Juan Thornhill departed for Cleveland earlier this week, but Kansas City will add another former Super Bowl contributor in his place. Mike Edwards will join the defending champions’ secondary, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.

Edwards played out his rookie contract with the Buccaneers this past season, starting 12 games. The Chiefs have added both he and Drue Tranquill as defensive role players Friday. Like Tranquill, the Chiefs will pick up Edwards at a low rate. The fifth-year safety will sign a one-year deal worth $3MM, Rapoport tweets, adding the contract can max out at $5MM.

Among a glut of Bucs second-day secondary draftees in recent years, Edwards has both worked as a starter and a regular off-the-bench contributor in Tampa. Joining the likes of Carlton Davis, Jamel Dean, Sean Murphy-Bunting and Antoine Winfield Jr. as second- or third-round DBs to come through Tampa since 2018, Edwards — a 2019 third-rounder out of Kentucky — played often for the Bucs during their Tom Brady-era surge.

Edwards has three pick-sixes over the past two seasons, notching two of them in one game. Those end zone dashes helped the Bucs run away from the Falcons in a September 2021 matchup. Edwards, who is entering his age-27 season, tallied a career-high 82 tackles last season and totaled eight INTs over the past three years. While Pro Football Focus rated Edwards as a top-10 safety during his 2020 season as a rotational cog alongside Winfield and Jordan Whitehead, the advanced metrics site slotted him as a bottom-10 player at the position in 2022.

Thornhill had started four seasons with the Chiefs, but the Browns gave the former second-round pick a three-year, $21MM deal. Kansas City back-line starters for three seasons, Thornhill and Tyrann Mathieu have now departed. The Chiefs got by with 2022 pickup Justin Reid, however, and will likely increase second-round pick Bryan Cook‘s responsibilities next season. Cook played 32% of Kansas City’s defensive snaps as a rookie. He will likely be the favorite to start alongside Reid, but Edwards should supply some insurance and a quality backup if that scenario comes to pass.

At $10.5MM per year, Reid is the Chiefs’ highest-paid defensive back. Regularly passing on high- or even mid-tier cornerback payments, the Chiefs are also saving money in their secondary via the Cook pick and this Edwards accord.

Antonio Brown, Mike Edwards To Rejoin Buccaneers

Like country singer Vince Gill in 1993, Antonio Brown is getting one more last chance. When the Buccaneers receiver joined the team last season, head coach Bruce Arians told him that “there will be no second chances,” so Brown’s recent suspension for misrepresenting his vaccination status theoretically put his roster spot in jeopardy.

Indeed, Arians said earlier this month that no decision had been made with respect to Brown’s future with the team. However, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports that Brown will rejoin the Bucs on Monday (the club’s contest against the Saints tonight marks the final game of his three-game ban).

Suspended players are allowed to attend meetings and work out in their team’s facility, and Brown has been doing just that. Arians’ comments notwithstanding, it would have been surprising to see Tampa Bay cut Brown given how productive he has been while on the field — 29 catches for 418 yards and four TDs through five games in 2021 — though it was at least somewhat possible that the Bucs would refrain from activating him as soon as he was eligible. We previously heard that the club wanted to ensure that Brown is focused on football and adhering to the league’s rules prior to activation, and apparently Arians has been satisfied with Brown’s behavior over the last several weeks.

The seven-time Pro Bowler was also dealing with an ankle injury that had been keeping him on the sidelines even before the suspension, but Rapoport says that the rehab has gone well and that Brown is ready to play. His next opportunity to do so will be against the Panthers next Sunday.

Safety Mike Edwards, who was suspended three games for his own COVID-19 protocol violations, will also rejoin the team on Monday.

Latest On Buccaneers’ WR Antonio Brown

Questions have arisen over Antonio Brown‘s future with the Buccaneers after comments made by head coach Bruce Arians. Brown and safety Mike Edwards recently received a three-game ban following a report indicating that Brown had acquired a fake COVID-19 vaccination card.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports that when asked if Brown and Edwards will remain on the team after their suspension is over, Arians answered, We’ll address their future at that time,” fueling speculation that there may be reason to doubt their current job safety. When asked to clarify his comments, Arians doubled down, stating, “Nothing’s been decided, no.”

The four-time First-team All-Pro has had his share of controversies over an eleven-year career in the NFL. When Brown was signed to a free agent deal with the Buccaneers, Arians commented that, despite entering the NFL midway through the 2020 season, he didn’t anticipate any issues with Brown having to deal with the COVID-19 protocols. Arians also indicated that Tampa Bay wouldn’t hesitate to get rid of Brown were he to return to his controversial behavior, saying, “He’s been a model citizen, if and when he’s not, we’ll move on.”

The star wide receiver has been impressive this year in the five games he’s played, totaling 42 catches for 418 yards and 4 touchdowns. Brown’s decision to accept his suspension without an appeal was an easy one, as he was expected to miss two more games anyway with an ankle injury, and he was lucky for a shorter suspension, considering the league was looking into a suspension around 6-8 games.

It will be interesting to see how Arians and the Buccaneers proceed with handling Brown and Edwards. Arians was one of the more vocal and proud coaches in his team’s efforts to get to 100% vaccination status. Both Brown and Edwards have since been vaccinated, but the damage may already be done.

NFL Mulled 6-8 Game Ban For Antonio Brown

Earlier this week, the NFL hit Antonio BrownMike Edwards, and free agent defensive back John Franklin III with three-game bans for violating COVID-19 protocols. Initially, however, the league was considering six-to-eight game suspensions for those players (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero). 

[RELATED: NFL Suspends Antonio Brown, Mike Edwards]

An eight-game ban would have trickled into the playoffs for Brown and Edwards. Thanks to NFLPA negotiations, both players will have a chance to return in a few weeks. According to Bucs head coach Bruce Arians, it’s not a given that Brown will be activated straight away, and Pelissero hears that’s legitimate. The team first wants to ensure that Brown is focused on football and adhering to the league’s rules. Beyond that, there’s also a non-trivial chance that the players could be facing legal entanglements, since falsifying vaccination cards is a federal crime.

Brown, 33, has been productive on the field, but he’s missed time thanks to a lingering ankle injury and time on the COVID list. Before the suspension, Brown was on pace for another 1,000-yard season with 29 grabs for 418 yards and two touchdowns in five games. Now, he’ll finish shy of that mark for a third straight year.

If the Bucs welcome Brown back immediately after the suspension, he’ll retake the field on Dec. 26th against the Panthers.

NFL Suspends Antonio Brown, Mike Edwards

Not long after a report surfaced indicating Antonio Brown acquired a fake COVID-19 vaccination card, the NFL is suspending the All-Pro talent. The league handed Brown a three-game suspension, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.

The NFL also suspended Bucs safety Mike Edwards for COVID-19 protocol violations, per Rapoport. Brown denied using a fake vaccination card, but the NFL determined he did, in fact, do so. Neither player is appealing; both will be out until at least Week 16. The league did not fine the Buccaneers.

This further mars Brown’s first full Bucs season. Tampa Bay gave the All-Decade wideout an opportunity after a turbulent 2019 and an eight-game 2020 suspension, with Tom Brady leading the charge to bring the mercurial superstar into the fold. While Brown has been productive on the field, he has run into myriad issues that have kept him out of games this season. He missed a game while on the COVID-19 list, has missed several due to a troublesome ankle injury and will now be down until late December because of his second NFL ban in just more than a year.

When Brown landed on the COVID list in September, he was treated as a vaccinated player, returning after eight days. Unvaccinated players who test positive must quarantine for a minimum of 10 days. The wideout’s lawyer nevertheless released a statement Thursday indicating his client is vaccinated (via Rapoport, on Twitter). Making a fake vaccination card or using one is a felony. Brown’s 2020 suspension stemmed partially from felony burglary conveyance and misdemeanor battery charges.

Brown’s ban also surfaced after Bucs HC Bruce Arians said the team did its due diligence regarding Brown’s vaccination status, via ESPN.com’s Jenna Laine. Arians called the matter a non-story last month, and a Bucs statement read a team investigation did not reveal any irregularities (Twitter link). Arians said in early September the Bucs were a fully vaccinated team, but the November report contradicted that status. Given Arians’ initial hesitancy regarding a reunion with Brown last year, this is obviously not a good look for the 12th-year wide receiver or the team.

Brown, 33, was set to miss at least two more games because of the ankle injury he has battled for much of the season. The timing of this suspension does not stand to hurt the Bucs much, though it may affect Brown’s post-2021 future with the franchise. Brown re-signed with the Bucs on a one-year deal in May. The former Steelers dynamo was on pace for another 1,000-yard season, having caught 29 passes for 418 yards and two touchdowns in five games. But he will finish shy of that mark for a third straight year.

A former third-round Bucs pick, Edwards has worked as a backup safety for most of his career. The third-year cover man did post a rare two-pick-six game in Tampa Bay’s first meeting with Atlanta. He will miss the Bucs’ rematch with the Falcons, along with games against the Bills and Saints. Edwards has played in all 11 Bucs games this season.

The NFL also suspended free agent defensive back John Franklin III, who was with Tampa Bay this offseason. The Bucs waived him in August. Franklin also received a three-game ban.

Buccaneers Sign Rookie Mike Edwards

The Buccaneers have signed third-round safety Mike Edwards to his rookie deal, according to a team announcement. Per the terms of his slot, the four-year pact should be worth $3.34MM with an $822K signing bonus. 

Taken with the No. 99 overall pick, Edwards could be in line for a starting role at safety this year. Even if he doesn’t make the first-string squad, he figures to see a decent amount of playing time in the secondary.

At Kentucky, Edwards proved his effectiveness at multiple positions. In total, he racked up 318 tackles, the second-highest total in school history among defensive backs. He also had a nose for the football with the Wildcats, notching ten career interceptions, including two pick-sixes.

With Edwards signed, the Bucs have just two unsigned picks left in first-round linebacker Devin White and third-round cornerback Jamel Dean.