Antonio Brown will be 31 when training camp starts, but I don’t think that will be an issue. He can still play at a high level, and Jon Gruden has a lengthy history of success with older wide receivers.
As a head coach or offensive coordinator, Gruden has coached 14 1,000-yard receivers. All but two were at least 30 (and of those 12 thirtysomethings, all but one was at least 32 years old.) That’s using ages at the end of the season. However you score it, old receivers and Gruden tend to find each other.
Jordy Nelson was 33 last year and running on fumes – released by the Packers. He had a huge game at Miami early in the season, with a couple of long catches. And they got him going pretty well late, with 38 catches is his final five games.
|GRUDEN'S 1,000-YARD RECEIVERS|
|1996||Irving Fryar, Phil.||34||88||1,195||13.6||11|
|1997||Irving Fryar, Phil.||35||86||1,316||15.3||6|
|1998||Tim Brown, Oak.||32||81||1,012||12.5||9|
|1999||Tim Brown, Oak.||33||90||1,344||14.9||6|
|2000||Tim Brown, Oak.||34||76||1,128||14.8||11|
|2001||Tim Brown, Oak.||35||91||1,165||12.8||10|
|2001||Jerry Rice, Oak.||39||83||1,139||13.7||9|
|2002||Keyshawn Johnson, T.B.||30||76||1,088||14.3||5|
|2003||Keenan McCardell, T.B.||33||84||1,174||14.0||9|
|2004||Michael Clayton, T.B.||22||80||1,193||14.9||7|
|2005||Joey Galloway, T.B.||34||83||1,287||15.5||10|
|2006||Joey Galloway, T.B.||35||62||1,057||17.0||7|
|2007||Joey Galloway, T.B.||36||57||1,014||17.8||6|
|2008||Antonio Bryant, T.B.||27||83||1,248||15.0||7|
|2019||Antonio Brown, Oak.||31||?||?||?||?|
As for Brown, he’s not as spectacularly athletic as he used to be. A few years back, he was scoring on a punt return every year. Think of the Spider-Man leap onto the goal post. He’s not that guy anymore. But he definitely can still play. He caught a career-high 15 TDs last year. With Gruden dialing up the plays, definitely a candidate for top-5 numbers.