At the beginning of this week speculation arose that wide receiver Antonio Brown would potentially sign with a team during Week 8 before his suspension was up during Week 9. The 5-0 Seattle Seahawks were originally the favorites to land Brown. However today, news has broken that Brown has been quietly negotiating with with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Now according to Adam Schefter of ESPN, Brown has agreed to a one year deal with the Buccaneers.
Update: Antonio Brown and the Buccaneers have reached agreement on a one-year deal, per sources.
Language still has to be finalized, COVID protocols passed, but Brown is likely to make his Bucs’ debut in Week 9 against the Saints.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 23, 2020
In March there was speculation of Brown joining his former New England Patriots teammate Tom Brady and former Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator Bruce Arians in Tampa Bay. But Arians shut down those rumors saying that “(Brown’s) not a fit in our locker room”. Despite Arians comments, Brady’s influence helped get this deal done. During his short time in New England, Brown had been staying on Brady’s coach and the two developed a great relationship during that time.
There had been multiple rumors on to what Browns plan was for the 2020 season and beyond. In June the Seahawks and Ravens had discussed signing Brown. A month later he had announced his retirement from football.
Brown will be joining one of the most talented wide receiver groups in the NFL already. Mike Evans is a former second team All-Pro (2016) and a three time Pro Bowler. Evans also is tied for Randy Moss for the most 1,000 yard receiving seasons to start a career with six and is the youngest player in NFL history to reach 7,000 receiving yards. Chris Godwin emerged as a superstar last season being named a second team All-Pro and Pro Bowler for the first time. Godwin has emerged as one of the leagues best slot receivers and is a touchdown machine.
Brown’s resume speaks for itself. During his first nine years in the league he looked like a bonafide Hall of Famer. When he was with the Pittsburgh Steelers he had 837 receptions for 11,207 yards and 74 touchdowns. All-time he has the 28th most receptions, 35th most receiving yards, and 34th most touchdowns. He was a seven-time Pro Bowler, four-time First-Team All-Pro, one-time Second-Team All-Pro, two-time receiving yardage leader, two-time receptions leader, led the league in touchdowns in his last full season, and a member of the 2010s All-Decade Team.
During the 2018-19 offseason, Brown had made numerous headlines for all the wrong reasons and forced his way out of Pittsburgh to the Oakland (now Las Vegas) Raiders. However Brown was cut by the Raiders before Week 1 because his off the field issues didn’t stop and actually appeared worse. Brown landed with the Patriots where he played one game during Week 2 last season. During that game against the Miami Dolphins Brown caught four receptions for 56 yards and a touchdown. But was released later that week after more off the field allegations emerged about Brown.
The Buccaneers are hoping that the issues are past Brown and that he is ready to get back to work and become the receiver he was only two seasons ago. The fact that Brown’s name has been out of the headlines for an extended period of time and his social media presence has been minimal shows that what they are hoping might be the case. Brown is expected to make his debut with the team during their Week 9 matchup against the New Orleans Saints.