The Tampa Bay Buccaneers made a surprise move on Friday when they signed Pro Bowl wide receiver Antonio Brown to a one-year contract. The development was first reported by the Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle before ESPN’s Adam Schefter confirmed the signing. According to Schefter, Brown signed an incentive-laden deal with the Buccaneers, which came as a surprise since the wide receiver was expected to join the Seattle Seahawks after serving his eight-game suspension. The NFL suspended Brown for eight games due to multiple violations of the league’s personal conduct policy.

Brown had veteran quarterback Tom Brady to thank for since the latter lobbied the Buccaneers to sign him despite the opposition from head coach Bruce Arians during the offseason.

According to Adam Schefter, Brady has been a driving force behind Tampa’s interest in signing Brown. Arians, who was Brown’s offensive coordinator during his first two seasons within Pittsburgh, called the wide receiver a “diva” during his time with the Steelers. However, Arians had a change of heart with his wide receiving corps battered by various injuries. Mike Evans, the Buccaneers’ top wideout, is hounded by an ankle issue while Chris Godwin has been limited in practice this week due to his hamstring issue. Wide receiver Scotty Miller is also limited in practice due to hip and groin issues.

Brady connected with Brown in New England

After 10 seasons in Pittsburgh, the Steelers traded Brown to the Oakland Raiders in 2019.

However, some off-field issues forced the team to release him after just six months. The New England Patriots landed Brown to a one-year deal worth $15 million before the start of the regular season. Brady immediately connected with Brown, who caught four passes for 54 yards and a score in their 43-0 win over the Miami Dolphins.

However, their partnership was short-lived after the Patriots cut Brown due to various off-field issues. Despite parting ways, Brady and Brown continued their connection through social media, with the wide receiver expressing his intention to play alongside the veteran quarterback in the future. The Buccaneers are getting a versatile receiver in Brown, who caught 104 passes for 1,297 yards and NFL-best 15 touchdowns in his last full season in 2018.

In his 10 seasons with the Steelers, Brown tallied 841 catches for 11,263 yards and 75 touchdowns. Following all protocols, Brown is eligible to play when the Buccaneers take on the New Orleans Saints in Week 9 where they will try to avenge their Week 1 loss.

Brown improves Bucs’ Super Bowl odds

According to Chris Amberley of Sports Betting Dime, Brown’s arrival not only bolstered the Buccaneers’ receiving corps but improved their chances of winning the Super Bowl. The Buccaneers are now the fourth-best team in terms of odds to win the Super Bowl at +1000, from the previous +1300. They are just behind the Kansas City Chiefs (+400), Baltimore Ravens (+600) and Seahawks (+750).

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