NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Thursday on Free Agency Frenzy that the Bucs likely won't be adding Brown, despite his close relationship with TB12.
"No, there's definitely some sense that Tom Brady would want to bring Antonio Brown with him," Rapoport said. "This from some of the other teams that were potentially in the mix. What really wasn't a secret Brady and AB have remained close. My understanding is this is not something that Bruce Arians is in favor of. He's had Antonio Brown before. He had him a couple of years in Pittsburgh. Does not sound like it went well. This does not seem to be like the direction that the Bucs would be going."
It's notable that other teams believed Brady wanted to bring AB along to his next destination. It seems clear, however, it wasn't a deal-breaker as the Ex-Pats QB is set to sign in Tampa.
The Bucs signing Brown didn't get passed a strong smell test for several reasons.
First, Brown and Bruce Arians would have some giant fences to mend first. The Bucs coach previously called out AB for being a "diva," to which the receiver fired back. And that was before last season.
Third, there remains the lingering legal issues with Brown, for which the NFL has not concluded its investigation. If signed by a team, Brown could be placed on the Commissioner's Exempt List until the league concludes its inquiry into the litany of off-field questions. A suspension, potentially lengthy, could also be handed down to Brown.