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.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have an interesting decision to make with their franchise tag this offseason, and what they do could ultimately determine whether or not Jameis Winston is back with the team next year.
The Bucs may use their franchise tag on star pass-rusher Shaq Barrett rather than Winston, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Media. They would prefer to work out a long-term deal with Barrett, but it would not be a surprise if they do everything necessary to keep the 27-year-old.
From our @NFLTotalAccess pre-Combine show: The #Bucs are strongly considering using the franchise tag on Shaq Barrett if they can't reach a long-term deal, while the #Chargers are in the same position with TE Hunter Henry. pic.twitter.com/QYZXaHxNXh
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 1, 2020
Barrett had 19.5 sacks in his first season with the Bucs last year. He had 14 total in his first four NFL seasons with the Denver Broncos, so it goes without saying that he was an outstanding fit in Tampa’s defense.
Winston is also set to become a free agent, though Bucs head coach Bruce Arians has openly said the team will look for a better option before deciding if Winston will be back. Arians has been critical of Winston for turning the ball over so much last year, and the Bucs may be placing a higher priority on retaining Barrett than Winston.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have key offseason decisions ahead, and one big one may have major implications on the rest of their roster.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Buccaneers may use their franchise tag on defensive lineman Shaq Barrett if the two sides cannot reach a long-term deal. That would mean the Bucs have to find another way to retain Jameis Winston if they wish to do so.
Bucs are strongly considering placing their franchise tag on pass rusher Shaquil Barrett if the two sides are unable to reach a long-term deal, per league source.
Also notable is this: Placing franchise tag on Barrett means there’d be no franchise tag left for Jameis Winston.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) February 28, 2020
Barrett has signaled his willingness to accept a hometown discount, but it doesn’t sound like that’s speeding up negotiations. After leading the NFL with 19.5 sacks last season, it’s quite clear that the Buccaneers really don’t want to lose him.
We don’t know what this means for Winston yet. The quarterback is set to become a free agent, and by all accounts, no decision has been made yet on his future. He’d been mentioned as a possible candidate for the tag, but this would rule that out and force the Buccaneers to either move on or look for alternate ways of keeping him.
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Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians has openly admitted he will explore upgrading at the quarterback position before deciding whether or not to bring back Jameis Winston, and there is some belief that the coach could consider Teddy Bridgewater a better option.
ESPN’s Mike Triplett spoke with NFL sources, coaches and general managers about Bridgewater at the Scouting Combine this week, and the team that came up the most in connection with the 27-year-old quarterback was the Bucs. As Triplett noted, Tampa Bay coach Bruce Arians usually likes quarterbacks who sling it more than Bridgewater does, but Jameis Winston’s idea of slinging it last season led to 30 interceptions. Arians has said multiple times that the turnover rate was unacceptable, so perhaps a player who protects the football more like Bridgewater would appeal to him.
Triplett mentioned several other teams that could show interest in Bridgewater, including the New England Patriots. The Patriots have been viewed as a logical landing spot for Bridgewater if they move on from Tom Brady, but it seems unlikely that they would give him anywhere close to the money reports claim Bridgewater could get from other teams. If the Pats let Brady walk, they would likely go with Jarrett Stidham or an inexpensive veteran and use the savings elsewhere.
Arians all but admitted this week that the Bucs would not franchise tag or try to re-sign Winston if Brady were interested in joining them, but that seems unlikely. Winston made a big change in his life this offseason that could help him on the field, and it would not be a surprise if he’s back under center in Tampa to begin 2020.
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Bruce Arians is prepared to enter the 2020 season with Jameis Winston as his starting quarterback, but the Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach admits that he will explore other options before trying to bring Winston back. As many expected, Tom Brady will be one of those options.
The Bucs can place the franchise tag on Winston before he becomes a free agent, but Arians told reporters on Tuesday that the team will examine the quarterback market before deciding whether or not to go that route. Arians once again expressed concerns over Winston’s inability to protect the ball, but the coach also said “hell yeah” when asked if he believes Tampa can win with Jameis.
Arians on weighing the good and bad of Jameis Winston: “Five thousand yards and 30 touchdowns (33) is awesome. Thirty interceptions … Can we win with Jameis? Hell, yeah. There’s no doubt. As a head coach, you have to decide ‘Is there a better option?’”
— Greg Auman (@gregauman) February 25, 2020
When asked for a specific example of someone he might reach out to before committing to Winston, Arians mentioned Brady.
Lots of quotes of significance from Arians, especially relating to Winston. Definitely aware that there could be available options he would want to consider. “Tom Brady,” he answered when asked for an example of someone he might prefer.
— Greg Auman (@gregauman) February 25, 2020
While it may be a bit unusual for a coach to be so forthcoming about his plans at the QB position, nothing Arians said is a huge surprise. Arians reiterated that he was discouraged by Winston’s play down the stretch in 2019, which included six interceptions over Tampa’s final two games. The coach has already said multiple times this offseason that the Bucs will try to find someone better than Winston before making a final decision about the former Florida State star.
Arians didn’t mention Philip Rivers, but the 38-year-old is another possible option for the Bucs. It’s unclear if Arians would consider Rivers an upgrade over Winston, however.
Winston made a big change in his life this offseason that could potentially help him on the field, though Arians doesn’t seem overly excited about it. While it is unlikely that Brady would sign with Tampa, Winston is going to have to wait for Brady’s free agency to play out before getting more clarity on his own future.
The wide-ranging assumption seems to be that Tom Brady will move closer to where he grew up in California if he decides to leave the New England Patriots this offseason, but could a move down the East Coast make just as much sense for the six-time Super Bowl champion?
Peter King, who has a close relationship with Brady and has interviewed him numerous times over the years, said during an appearance on WEEI’s “Dale & Keefe Show” Thursday that he considers the Tampa Bay Buccaneers a “sleeping giant” in the Brady sweepstakes. King said he has been told Jameis Winston wants more money than the Bucs may be willing to pay at the moment, and the thought of working with Bruce Arians could appeal to Brady.
“Look, they have a pretty good offensive line and they’ve got two excellent receivers. They’ve got a really good young tight end, and they have a very imaginative head coach and offensive coordinator in the passing game,” King said. “I can’t tell you absolutely what they would do or what they are going to do, but I can tell you that they are fascinating to me because Bruce Arians isn’t coaching forever. I think he is one of those guys that all quarterbacks say, ‘Man, it would be cool to work for Bruce Arians’ because he’s such a fun offensive mind.”
Arians has worked with a number of prominent quarterbacks throughout his career, including Peyton Manning, Ben Roethlisberger and Carson Palmer. The Bucs had the best wide receiver duo in football this season under Arians, with both Mike Evans and Chris Godwin turning in monster years before they got hurt. Brady, of course, was openly frustrated with New England’s offense in 2019.
“So, I guess I look at it and say when I think of Tampa Bay and Tom Brady, it makes as much sense to me as any of these other teams out here with the possible exception of the Chargers,” King added.
Las Vegas odds still overwhelmingly favor Brady returning to the Patriots, and we would be surprised to see him wind up elsewhere. While some believe Brady is going to finally force the Patriots to pay him top dollar if they want to keep him, what he really wants is a better supporting cast so he has a chance to contend for another title.
Brady sparked some rumors about his future earlier this month with his appearance at a UFC event, and it’s possible he knew exactly what he was doing. All of this could be about putting pressure on the Patriots.