Bruce Arians knows people are skeptical of his team's decision to sign Antonio Brown, but he has an explanation: It's a backup plan.
Arians spoke with reporters Sunday following Tampa Bay's 45-20 win over the Las Vegas Raiders, and he was blunt about his intentions with Brown.
"It's an insurance policy," Arians said of the team's signing of Brown, via The Athletic's Greg Auman. "We have good players. You can't have enough of them."
Arians is correct, you can never have enough high quality players, and he'd know after his team was already forced to play much of this season without Chris Godwin. Brown isn't just a high-quality player, though; The receiver who was a superstar not too long ago but has driven himself out of the game by his own action, isn't exactly the type of player you sign as a glue guy.
Brown was suspended for the first eight weeks of the 2020 season following an NFL investigation into off-field transgressions that included criminal allegations. The league decided half of a regular season was ample punishment for multiple violations of the league's personal-conduct policy, but allowed him to serve it while unemployed. A civil sexual assault lawsuit is still pending for Brown, as well. Nonetheless, with Week 9 around the corner, Brown has again become a player of interest for suitors.
Brown does have a familiar face awaiting him in Tampa, even if the familiarity only lasted for a couple of weeks. Brown spent a short stint with Tom Brady in New England during the receiver's tumultuous 2019 season before the Patriots released him amid the allegations that led to his eventual suspension.
That's not why the Buccaneers agreed to a deal with Brown, though, if you ask Arians.
"I think he's matured. I believe in second chances," Arians said of Brown. "Everybody wants to say Tom picked him. Tom didn't have anything to do with it."
Brady will have plenty to do with making the signing worthwhile. We'll have to wait some time to see that outcome.