Currently, Antonio Brown is one of the more polarizing figures in the NFL. Much of the fanbase of any team linked to the talented wide receiver often see their fanbase split on whether or not the team should pursue him. It is no different for the Bucs fanbase who find themselves right in the middle of the latest round of Antonio Brown rumors.
As stated earlier in the day, the Brown-to-Bucs rumor has resurfaced, and when it comes to whether or not the Bucs should do it, it’s quite simple…yes, yes they should.
If you have any reservations, let me ask you this… Do you want to watch a once-in-a-lifetime offense, with the very real potential of being the greatest of all time, pursue a Super Bowl? If the answer is yes, and it should be, then it is time to back the signing of Brown.
There is no denying the talent. From 2013 through the 2018 season, his last in Pittsburgh, Brown caught 686 passes for 9,145 and 67 touchdowns to lead all wide receivers in that time. In one game with the Patriots (and Tom Brady), Brown hauled in four passes for 56 yards and a touchdown in a blowout win over the Miami Dolphins. Simply put, when he is on the field, Brown is the best receiver in the league.
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Currently, the Buccaneers don’t have a shortage of talent on the offensive side of the ball. In addition to adding Brady, the Bucs brought in tight end Rob Gronkowski to team up with returning stars, Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. In addition, they added Tyler Johnson in the draft and still have O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate on the roster. As presently constituted, the offense will rival some of the best in the league. Adding Antonio Brown puts them in a whole different stratosphere.
When it comes to potential fit both in the locker room and under the cap, it shouldn’t be too difficult to navigate both. First, Brown’s reputation has taken a hit over the last 18 months and deservedly so. However, in the locker room, under the right circumstances, that reputation goes out the door. By all accounts, including both parties, Brown and Brady have had a strong friendship both on and off the field. Brady’s presence in addition to the winning will go a long way to mitigate, if not eliminate, any potential issue. For what its worth, in his brief time in New England, he was fine inside the locker room and had many supporters.
The next biggest hurdle would be fitting Brown under the salary cap. Fortunately, given Brown’s absence for much of last season, the Bucs could offer him an incentive heavy contract with a low base in order to defer much of that money to next season when the team has much more money available to work with. Since Brown missed 15 games last year, his incentives would be considered ‘Not Likely to Be Earned’ which would push that money to the 2021 season. Given the circumstances, Brown may be more than willing to sign a contract like that to get back on the field with Brady.
Antonio Brown Career Stats
Which brings us to the current group of wide receivers on the roster. If they sign Brown to a one-year deal (most likely in my opinion) then it shouldn’t have any impact on the future of Chris Godwin who will be a UFA at the end of the year. Just as the Patriots have done for years, they sign players to prove-it deals which allows them to either re-sign with a multi-year extension or seek a bigger payday with another team. The latter is the more likely scenario as the Bucs can use him for a season to help win a Super Bowl.
— Full Press Buccaneers (@FPC_Buccaneers) June 30, 2020
And that is really what it is all about… winning a Super Bowl. And, with the addition of Brown, you can all but guarantee a birth in the Super Bowl. That is what this offseason has been all about. The team added Brady, not to sell tickets or merchandise, but to bring a championship back to the Bay area. On top of that, they went out and lured Gronkowski out of retirement. Likely at the behest of Brady himself. Why would they not listen to him now if he says Brown would be a good addition?
On paper, the Bucs offense would rival some of the best the league has ever seen. Brady has been at the helm for several of them. Most notably, the 2007 Patriots, which featured Brady, Randy Moss, and Wes Welker.
This 2020 Bucs team, with Brown, would be better. Much better.