Updated: Nov 12
In March, just as the pandemic was surging, Bruce Arians was on an interview with the Tiki and Tierney Apple podcast. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers Head Coach discussed his expectations and goals for the 2020 season as well as if there might be any additions to the team. “What’s the likelihood ‘AB’ gets back in Tampa because I know Tom has had an affinity for him” Former NFL running back, Tiki Barber, asked Arians, to which he replied, “Yeah it’s not going to happen... it’s not a fit here.” It is now October and Antonio Brown is a member of the Buccaneers organization. The two sides came to an agreement on a one-year deal with a final dollar amount to be announced later. The interesting dynamic of this whole situation is that it seems as if Tom Brady has gotten his way and surrounded himself with another toy to play with.
Just two months after they signed former fourth overall draft pick Leonard Fournette the Buccaneers have brought in yet another elite talent to help Brady feel at ease in his new digs. Brown has had his troubles and received his fair amount of chances from the NFL, but luckily for him, Tom Brady is in his corner and to have a six-time Super Bowl champion vouch for you must attest to the man’s talent. According to Adam Schefter, Tom Brady was a ‘driving force’ in getting Brown to Tampa. Say what you will about his character off the field but when he laces up his cleats he performs. Can you blame Brady? He and Brown have already built on-field chemistry, evident from the week 2 matchup with the Miami Dolphins in 2019. In ‘AB’s’ only game of the season, and only game with the Patriots, he hauled in 4 passes for 56 yards and a touchdown in a 43-0 blowout. With 1 rush for 5 yards as well it was a serviceable outing for the 7-time pro bowler but only scratched the surface of his potential with Brady, who loves smaller slot receivers, which Brown is despite his superstar status. Giving Brady a taste of Brown in the slot in 2019 resolved any issues he had with his skill players in New England and provided fans hope of another run at a championship. One year later and Buccaneers fans are feeling the same hope that Patriots fans felt because that is how good Antonio Brown is.
He is a season removed from his last game and he may not be able to play until week 10 at the latest due to COVID guidelines and his suspension from the league not being able to be lifted until after week eight concludes. Brown is not allowed to enter team facilities during his suspension and will not be able to get tested by his new team until he is allowed to enter the facility. Depending on whether or not he can get tested in time for Tampa Bay’s week nine game against the Saints, the team expects Brown to contribute to their championship aspirations. With all that being said, the Buccaneers are in a situation in which they cannot lose. They brought in Brown to add to an already loaded arsenal of weapons. If he flames out and burns yet another bridge then Tampa will move on and use the two receivers, they have playing outside the numbers who went for a thousand yards each last season. But, if this experiment works and Brown can stay on the field, then winning will be inevitable for the Buccaneers.
They are currently 4-2 and leading the NFC South. In six games they have scored 177 points which is second in the NFL, only two points behind the Ravens. For a 43-year-old quarterback to have his team be the second highest scoring in the league almost half-way through the season is impressive. Adding Antonio Brown to the mix is only going to open up the Buccaneers offense even more. To go along with the second highest scoring offense, their defense is allowing the least amount of yards per game as well as being top three in sacks. It seems like Brady has made the right decision. He is running the offense the way he wants, and he is making calls when it comes to personnel. Going forward the Buccaneers are a team to watch out for in the NFC playoff push. Especially after their 38-10 victory over the Packers.
The Buccaneers are in Las Vegas to take on the Raiders before flying cross-country to play the Giants at MetLife Stadium. Following these two matchups will be week nine and it would be wise to keep an eye out for Brown’s status for both Buccaneers fans and anyone who might need wide receiver depth in fantasy football.