The news that the Buccaneers have agreed to terms with receiver Antonio Brown is a bit of a surprise on the surface, given that coach Bruce Arians had said he’s not interested. Taking a closer look at their current approach to constructing a roster, it’s really not surprising.
“It’s a one-year team,” one executive with another team observed. “If you don’t win, you have no equity.”
Actually, there’s not much equity if they do win. While a Super Bowl appearance or trophy would buy time for G.M. Jason Licht and whoever succeeds Bruce Arians as coach (if it’s someone from the current staff), the Bucs will be starting over in many respects, especially on offense.
The Bucs made that all-in bet when they signed Tom Brady. They’ve simply thrown more stuff onto the pile of chips by trading for tight end Rob Gronkowski, signing running back LeSean McCoy, signing running back Leonard Fournette, and now adding Brown.
“It’s not gonna happen,” Arians said in March regarding the prospect of signing Brown. “There’s no room, you know? Probably not enough money. It’s just not gonna happen. It’s just not a fit here. . . . I just know him, and it’s not a fit in our locker room.”
It may not fit the locker room, but it fits the approach. Go for it today, and worry about next year when next year (or the year after) arrives, and eventually Brady will be gone and the Bucs will be left trying to piece together a contending team, unless they can lure another aging franchise quarterback to join the cause and continue to make one big bet after another.
“It’s just a transient team,” the executive observed.
Of course, the Buccaneers know this. And they’re fine with it. Even if 2021 or 2022 become very bad years for the Bucs, they’ll always have 2020 — and they may cap it by winning a Super Bowl in their own stadium.