After Tom Brady signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, rumors almost immediately began to surface that Antonio Brown wanted to come to town and join Tampa Bay to play with the future Hall of Fame quarterback. Despite Brown's brief and unsuccessful tenure with the Patriots, the two appear to still have a good relationship, if their social media interactions can suggest as such.
On Speak For Yourself, Marcellus Wiley and Mark Schlereth argued that Tampa Bay was an ideal spot for Brown to land. Jason Whitlock disagreed:
Wiley's argument can be boiled down to the fact that Brown will be joining a team stacked at receiver and with men Brown respects in charge. The presence of Mike Evans and Chris Godwin means Brown can't adopt a my-way-or-the-highway attitude and his off-the-field distractions would be limited by the firm hand of Bruce Arians. Scherleth more or less agreed, accurately pointing out that Brown's talent makes him a good fit everywhere, but his surroundings in Tampa Bay would rein in some of his worse impulses.
Whitlock doesn't think that's the case at all. He brings up the various and occasionally disturbing videos Brown has posted over the last several months that suggest he doesn't respect anybody. Whitlock also points out that, coming off a lost year, Brown will be even more vocal about his desire to get the ball, and he doesn't imagine it will end well when Brown doesn't get his targets as a result of the talent around him.
I'm inclined to side with Whitlock here, a rare occurrence for this blogger. Arians certainly comes across as your stereotypical hardass football coach, but if Brown couldn't respect the authority of Bill Belichick, will Arians be any different? And all of these arguments neglect to even mention the fact that the NFL still hasn't completed its investigations of Brown's actions and if the season started tomorrow, he couldn't play.
Tampa Bay has it pretty good right now. The Bucs landed their biggest free agent ever, who also happens to be widely considered the best quarterback to step foot on a football field. They kept Shaq Barrett after he led the league in sacks last season and roll into 2020 with arguably the best receiving room in the league. Brown would give them an embarrassment of riches there, but the potential for disaster is quite high. The move screams "unnecessary risk", even if Brady wants to help out his pal and personally asks general manager Jason Licht to make the move.
From a football perspective, Brady throwing to a trio of Evans/Godwin/Brown is an offensive coordinator's dream. But there are far more factors at play than simply the on-field product, as New England learned the hard way last season. It's hard to see AB ending up anywhere other than on his couch next year unless something drastically changes over the next few months.