Wait. The Bucs are 5-2? They have two All-Pro wide receivers and a legend named Rob Gronkowski? Tom Brady throws them the ball? And they just signed an all-time great receiver? How does this not put them over the top, Zach?! Well, read on to find out. This is not just another crazy “fan” take.
Spreading the Wealth
You can never truly have too many weapons in the offense. And the Bucs knew that, when Chris Godwin emerged as a star next to already-dominant Mike Evans within the last few years. They brought Tom Brady’s old pal Rob Gronkowski out of retirement to join the team. And they brought in Leonard Fournette, a former 1000-yard rusher.
And now Antonio Brown, who has appeared in just one game in the last 24 NFL weeks has been signed to a one-year deal. On paper, this could be one of the greatest signings in NFL history. But, are we really going to forget about his off-field issues? There have been quite a few of them (more on this later).
What Brown is for the Bucs is a security blanket. Tom Brady can get him the ball anytime, as we saw from his one game in NE last year. But, it will take targets away from emerging youngsters like Tyler Johnson and Scotty Miller. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing, but you have to feel for them.
Injuries Do Happen
Antonio Brown had 100+ receptions during each of his final seven years in Pittsburgh. There were never any issues getting him the ball. But, he could find himself as the #1 wide out sooner than later, given the Bucs injury history. Chris Godwin has already had to miss three games with injuries this year, while Mike Evans has failed to finish a few.
At the end of last season, Breshad Perriman was the team’s top receiver. Evans and Godwin were both unable to stay healthy long enough to finish the season. So, this move is as much about the health and well-being of their current top guys as it is to improve the roster.
Lest we forget that OJ Howard’s season is already over thanks to an Achilles injury? And Rob Gronkowski has suffered several significant injuries over the duration of his career. Antonio Brown coming in here giving them injury insurance, not necessarily the very player that will take one of the NFL’ best offenses and make THAT much better.
Antonio Brown is a MANIAC
It’s hard to not remember all the antics of Antonio Brown. He refused to play for Buffalo last year, so the trade there was rescinded. He hurt his feet carelessly with excessive cryotherapy treatments in Oakland. Then, he wouldn’t report. He would not practice if he couldn’t wear an outdated helmet.
Brown was cut by the Raiders and posted a video of himself telling his Grandma and then running shirtless through his yard. He signed with the Patriots but more off-field issues had him off the team within two short weeks. No other team gave him any chances last year.
He has dominated the negative headlines for the last few years. But there’s one more thing we can’t forget. He went live on Facebook in the Steelers locker room during his final playoff run with the team, which we learned is not permitted. He went blatantly against team protocol.
Look, Antonio Brown is a once-in-a-generation type of receiver. He has fantastic hands and breakneck speed. But he has problems with authority and rules. If he truly cares about playing football again, he’ll stay off social media (throwing some nonsense tweets out like it’s nobody’s business) and out of the spotlight.
Antonio Brown could be the missing piece to the Bucks puzzle. Or, he could be the ticking time bomb waiting to go off and divide the locker room.
On paper, you have the best 1-2-3 receiver trio we have seen in a LONG time with Chris Godwin, Mike Evans and Antonio Brown. But, that’s just on paper. And this paper doesn’t include the likelihood of one or two of them suffering a new injury, given their history.
The Bucs will make it to the Super Bowl if all three are healthy and keep a positive attitude…probably. But, this move does not necessarily put them over the top, because of the off-field problems and health issues.
For now, just enjoy the fact that Tom Brady has 18 TD’s and just four interceptions through seven weeks with his new team.