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Antonio Brown, Buccaneers have talked return, but are not close on money right now

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers retained their entire 22-player starting unit from the Super Bowl championship squad, an unprecedented move in the modern era. The biggest-name reserve, however, remains unsigned.

Wideout Antonio Brown is the lone man left on the list of notable Bucs free agents still on the market. It doesn't sound like a resolution is coming in short order unless Brown is willing to take fewer bucks to return.

NFL Network's Mike Garafolo reported Thursday on Good Morning Football that the Bucs and Brown discussed a possible return this week, including money, but noted "they're not close right now" in terms of the financial situation.

"They want to bring him back, the Bucs do, just at a different number than he has in mind right now," Garafolo said.

Brown played in eight regular-season games last season, generating 45 catches for 483 yards and four TDs. He added eight catches for 81 yards and two scores in three postseason games played.

Brown still has lingering legal issues hanging overhead that likely won't be resolved in the short term. The NFL has said it reserves the right to suspend Brown again if any new information in the lawsuit comes to light.

The 32-year-old wideout earned $2 million for his half-season last year. Per Garafolo, the Bucs would like to bring him back around that number, but A.B. would like something closer to market value.

The veteran WR market stretches from DeSean Jackson's one-year, $4.5 million deal in L.A. to T.Y. Hilton's one-year, $8 million contract in Indy.

The Bucs aren't the only team that has checked in on Brown. Garafolo added that the wideout has received interest from other teams as well, but at this point, clubs aren't throwing money his way.

Like many veteran players squeezed during this year's salary cap crunch, it's clear Brown hasn't received the offers he thinks he's worth at this stage. It's possible he might have to wait for another offseason to find that desired contract.

The Bucs already have a ton of money tied up in the receiver position. Mike Evans has a cap number of $16.64 million, and Chris Godwin is playing on a $15.983 million franchise tag. Waiting out Brown and hoping no other team is willing to up its offer seems to be Tampa's play at this stage.

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