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Buccaneers, Mike Evans, Antonio Brown, Chris Godwin, Gronk

With Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and Gronk, did the Buccaneers need to add Antonio Brown?

Antonio Brown is back in the league and boy does he know how to make a splash! Brown signed a one-year deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers receiving core even more elite than it already is.

Brown now joins Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and Rob Gronkowski making this receiving core debatably the most dangerous in the NFL.

The question now stands: Did the Buccaneers need to sign Antonio Brown?

The quick and logical answer is no. They didn’t need to sign Antonio Brown. Their receiving core is already elite as it is. Was it a good move signing him? Absolutely.

The Tampa Bay receiving core has been battling  injuries all year. OJ Howard will miss the rest of the season with a torn achilles, Chris Godwin has been dealing with Hamstring issues, and Mike Evans has had ankle problems early this year as well.

Signing Antonio Brown is the Bucs safety blanket if another major receiver goes down. Is there really that much of a loss if Brown steps in for Godwin or Evans? A drop-off maybe, but a slight drop-off at that.

Antonio Brown also poses as a much more viable slot option than Scotty Miller or rookie Tyler Johnson when they decide to use four receiver sets on offense.

Let’s be clear- Antonio Brown doesn’t even need to produce to be an impact guy. Just the fact that he is on the field makes him a major threat to score. He attracts attention from safety’s downfield and linebackers across the middle. With safety attention on Brown, teams will not be able to send double teams to Evans or Godwin. If linebackers have their sights on Brown, the Tampa Bay running backs can get involved in the pass game in the flats without as much pressure.

Having Antonio Brown on the field as simply a diversion is useful. Having a third receiver like Brown on the field also allows Arians to expand the play book even more. Tampa Bay will be able to successfully go into empty 4 or 5 receiver sets and throw the ball downfield.

This air raid offense just got even more dangerous.

The last time Antonio Brown played a game in the NFL, it was with Tom Brady and the Patriots in 2019. He only played one game with the Patriots before being cut, but in his debut, he recorded 4 receptions for 56 yards and a touchdown in less than a week of practice.

It’s hard to say whether or not Brown is the same player that he once was, but it’s nice to know that he has some sort of familiarity with Brady. All Brown has to do now is become familiar with coach Bruce Arians who wasn’t too fond of the idea of bringing him aboard earlier this week.

“Yeah, it’s not gonna happen,” Arians said. “There’s no room. And probably not enough money. But it’s not gonna happen — it’s not a fit here.”

Something must have compelled Arians to change his mind because Antonio Brown is the newest Tampa Bay Buccaneer.

I believe that Arians was looking at this from an off-the-field perspective, but signing Brown could actually boost Buccaneers morale. As if Tampa Bay management hasn’t shown it already this year by acquiring Leonard Fournette before the season, Tampa Bay is going for it all. They’re showing to their team that they’re not afraid to take risks and that they believe they have a roster that is capable of winning a Super Bowl.

Regardless of who they sign, sometimes that message from management can really propel a team to achieve great things.

It’s hard to say what Brown’s role will be on the team early on. He may have lost his step and will struggle to get on the field. He also may be 2018 Antonio Brown who caught 104 passes for 1,297 yards and 15 touchdowns. Your guess is as good as mine.

What I do know, is that signing Antonio Brown was a solid move for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

It’s just a matter of time before we see TB to AB for a TD.