The Tampa Bay Buccaneers finished 7-9 last season and have not reached the postseason in over a decade, but they have suddenly become a premier destination for free agents. Call it the Tom Brady Effect.
Brady is in the process of finalizing a contract with the Bucs, and it does not sound like many of his peers are concerned that the six-time Super Bowl champion will turn 43 before the start of next season. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Tampa Bay has had an “unexpected high number of players” reach out in hopes of being able to play with Brady in 2020 and potentially beyond.
Since word surfaced that Tom Brady is expected to land in Tampa, an unexpected high number of players have reached out to the Buccaneers to let them know they want to join the former Patriots’ QB there, per league sources.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 19, 2020
The Bucs already have two star wide receivers in Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, so they don’t have a lot of room at that position. They do, however, still have a ton of salary cap space even if they give Brady $30 million per year, and players on both sides of the ball may view them as a championship contender with a four-time Super Bowl MVP now under center.
We know of one star receiver Brady might want joining him in Tampa Bay, but there’s a slim chance of that coming together.
Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are working on contract talks, but those negotiations have not been finalized yet.
The talks between both sides are expected to go into Thursday, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports. Challenges in contract language are more difficult now than ever due to the coronavirus pandemic, which is a factor.
Bucs and Tom Brady still trying to finalize contract language as of Wednesday night and those discussions will go into Thursday, per source. Contract language more challenging this off-season than any time in recent memory. No problems forseen with Bucs-Brady, but no deal yet.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 19, 2020
Brady announced on social media Tuesday that he would not be returning to the New England Patriots after 20 seasons with them. Reports later said he would be headed to the Bucs.
Nothing is finalized yet, but that is still expected to happen, which would put Brady in the NFC South and with a new team for his age-43 season. The Bucs likely gave Brady some special accommodations in getting him to say yes to them.
Tom Brady is expected to sign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in free agency, and a number of factors likely contributed to the decision.
Not only is the money right — and the lack of income tax in Florida appealing — but there are more aspects that made the Bucs attractive to Brady. He will pair with head coach Bruce Arians, who tends to lead great passing offenses. He will be able to throw to Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, who are two of the most productive wide receivers in the league.
On top of that, ESPN’s Adam Schefter believes the Bucs likely were willing to give Brady certain accommodations to make him happy.
Schefter speculated on ESPN Tuesday that “Tom wanted to have certain arrangements to make sure that he’s comfortable … with his family, that it’s comfortable if he wants to have his trainer with him, if he wants to have a certain day off, if he wants to be able to fly back east to his family, that he can do that.”
Whereas the Patriots may have been low-balling Brady, the Bucs are spending big on the quarterback and may be rolling out the red carpet to welcome him.
Brady turns 43 in August. He passed for 4,057 yards, 24 touchdowns and eight interceptions last year. He seemed to have issues with the lack of weapons he had to throw to in New England, but that shouldn’t be a problem with the Bucs.
Tom Brady announced on Tuesday that he will not return to the New England Patriots in 2020, and rumors are swirling that he has already made up his mind about which uniform he will wear next.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Los Angeles Chargers are the two teams that are known to have made significant offers to Brady. During his show on FOX Sports Radio on Tuesday, Colin Cowherd claimed he was told by a source that Brady will sign with the Bucs on Wednesday. However, Cowherd admitted that he did not speak with a “football source” but rather and “icon source — and somebody in Tom’s stratosphere that knows Tom and who is a famous person.”
"I was told that Tom Brady signs tomorrow with Tampa Bay."
— FOX Sports Radio (@FoxSportsRadio) March 17, 2020
Of course, we need to consider the source with any Cowherd scoop. He’s not a reporter and has had several noteworthy misses in the past. We wouldn’t trust his information nearly as much as someone like Adam Schefter, who reported on Tuesday that Brady legitimately has not made up his mind about where he will play next season and is still exploring options.
The Bucs rumors are out there, however, and not just from Cowherd. WEEI’s Dale Arnold also claims he was told by a source that Brady has agreed to a deal with Tampa.
— Dale Arnold (@DaleEArnold) March 17, 2020
Again, these are radio guys and not reporters. It’s common knowledge that the Buccaneers want Brady badly, so Cowherd and Arnold could be taking educated guesses. Other teams are still believed to be in the mix for Brady, but the Bucs can safely be considered a finalist.
Tom Brady announced on Tuesday that he will not be returning to the New England Patriots next season, but the 42-year-old quarterback still does not know where he will be playing.
Shortly after Brady issued his shocking statement, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Brady has not chosen a new team yet and is still weighing his options.
Despite today’s proclamation that he would not be returning to New England, Tom Brady has not made a decision on where he will play next season and he will be exploring his options, per a league source.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 17, 2020
According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Media, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Los Angeles Chargers have both made Brady offers that are believed to be in the range of $30 million or more per year.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 17, 2020
Brady has always prioritized winning over salary, which is why he took less to remain in New England throughout his entire career. He was unwilling to do that this time, but that doesn’t mean he will simply sign with the highest bidder. There has to be more appeal for him in Los Angeles than there would be in Tampa, especially with his family living in California and the recent launch of his media production company.
It’s possible a “mystery team” or two could enter the mix now that the Patriots are officially out, though one early favorite to sign Brady appears to no longer be interested.
The fact that Brady committed to not re-signing with the Patriots before knowing where he was going is telling. That likely means Bill Belichick was not intent on bringing Brady back, and it must have been evident in whatever contract discussions the two sides had. If Belichick truly wanted Brady back, you have to think something would have been worked out.
It sounds like Tom Brady has only one option if he’s going to leave the New England Patriots.
According to Chris Simms of NBC Sports, the San Francisco 49ers were Brady’s preferred destination, but are not interested in Brady and are sticking with Jimmy Garoppolo. Subsequently, Brady’s choices are either to return to the Patriots or sign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
This might not be the choice Brady wanted. The Buccaneers are reportedly desperate to sign the quarterback and could give him more money and a bigger say in personnel. However, they have not been close to contention. If Brady wants to win more Super Bowls, the best bet is to do what he’s always done in the past — take a team-friendly deal with the Patriots.
Brady’s market seemed much bigger not long ago, but the quarterback market moves fast. He has an interesting choice ahead of him.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are clearly looking at their quarterback options, and it sounds like they could go for the biggest name on the market.
According to Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times, the Buccaneers plan to go “all in” on Tom Brady. The pursuit will happen if Brady is available during the legal tampering period, and they intend to make him an offer he cannot refuse.
If the Buccaneers fail to land Brady, their backup plans are Teddy Bridgewater and Philip Rivers, in that order.
Brady would add instant excitement to a team that needs it. The Buccaneers haven’t been relevant for a while, and adding Brady would essentially be a ploy for both competitiveness and drumming up fan interest.
There has been chatter that Brady isn’t seeing the market he wants. Even if that’s true, this report makes it sound like Tampa Bay will do whatever it takes to bring him in.