All of the discussion about whether Antonio Brown might join the Seattle Seahawks became a moot point Friday afternoon, when it was reported by ESPN and other outlets that controversial wide receiver agreed to a one-year deal with Tampa Bay.
Reports emerged earlier in the day that Brown would visit the Bucs this weekend with the thought a deal could get done quickly. Turns out it got done Friday afternoon, with Brown set to visit the team Saturday when it will likely then all become official.
With Tampa Bay, Brown will be reunited with both coach Bruce Arians — who was offensive coordinator during his first two years in the NFL with the Steelers in 2010-11 — and quarterback Tom Brady, with whom he played one game with the New England Patriots last season.
Brown was then released amid further allegations of sexual assault, which were among the reasons he was later suspended by the NFL for the first eight weeks of the 2020 season, officially cited as having violated the league’s personal conduct policy.
But Brown’s suspension ends after the games of next weekend and reports emerged Wednesday that the Seahawks were among the teams interested in signing him.
Seattle’s interest was due in part to the good relationship Brown has with quarterback Russell Wilson, who said during a Zoom session with media Thursday that he hopes Brown gets “a second chance” to play, seeming to confirm he has been advocating for the team to sign Brown.
Brown’s getting that chance, but not with Seattle.
Tampa Bay reportedly has been quietly interested in Brown for a while, but there were no reports of it before Friday. That might be in part because there are some questions about the relationship between Arians and Brown.
A year ago, Arians shut down any talk of the Bucs adding Brown, saying “it’s not gonna happen” and that “this isn’t the Antonio that was drafted in 2010.” That compelled Brown to fire back on Twitter that Arians “didn’t draft me” and that Arians “now wears kangoo (sic) hats n glasses.”
But with Arians having helped lead an overhaul of the team’s offense in his second year in Tampa with the addition of Brady and Rob Gronkowski he now seems willing to add Brown to further boost the team’s Super Bowl hopes.
The Bucs are also dealing with injuries to receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, with Gronkowski also nursing shoulder injury.
Going to Tampa would also keep Brown close to home, as he grew up in the Miami area and has retained a residence there.
Seattle coach Pete Carroll on Wednesday confirmed the team had interest in Brown, saying that the Seahawks “are tuned in to what’s happening there.”
Both Carroll and Wilson portrayed attempting to add Brown as part of the team’s never-ending quest to be as competitive as possible, especially in a season when Seattle has jumped out to its best start ever at 5-0, only further emboldening the team’s Super Bowl aspirations.
Tampa Bay feels it can win it all, too, already boasting the No. 1 ranked defense in the NFL in yards allowed and coming off its best game of the season, a 38-10 thrashing of previously undefeated Green Bay.
Brown, who turned 32 in July, was named an All-Pro every year from 2014-17 and owns the fourth-best per-game receiving yard average in NFL history at 86.0.