Years from now, people will wear Tom Brady pewter jerseys as an ironic fashion statement.
Brady, for better or worse, will continue his career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers barring a late change. On Tuesday evening ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Tampa Bay is the “expected landing spot for Tom Brady barring anything unforeseen” and NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that the Buccaneers had agreed in principle with Brady. The deal will be worth about $30 million per season according to Rapoport, who also reported that the Bucs were the only known team to make a formal offer.
The Buccaneers were never shy about their interest in Brady, going back to coach Bruce Arians mentioning Brady by name at the NFL scouting combine. Brady’s arrival means Tampa Bay is officially moving on from Jameis Winston.
Now we get to see if Brady’s second act is a regrettable one like Joe Namath with the Rams, or something much better like Peyton Manning with the Broncos. Regardless, we’ll remember Brady with the Buccaneers for a long, long time.
Tom Brady moves on
It will be bizarre to see Brady in a Buccaneers uniform. (Thankfully, the team is getting a uniform redesign and going back to the pewter look of its lone Super Bowl championship team.)
Brady announced Tuesday morning he was leaving the Patriots after 20 years. Very few players are more connected with a sports franchise than Brady is with the Patriots. He won six Super Bowls with New England, which is a record. No matter what happens in Tampa Bay, Brady will be remembered first and foremost as a Patriot, of course.
But we also remember legends when they hit their second act, like Michael Jordan with the Washington Wizards or Willie Mays with the New York Mets. Add Brady and the Buccaneers to the long list of all-time greats who have found an unusual new home near the end of their careers.
When Brady comes out on opening day in a non-Patriots uniform, the first time that will have happened since he played for Michigan in the 2000 Orange Bowl, it is going to be surreal.
How do the Buccaneers and Brady fit together?
The Buccaneers are a curious landing spot for Brady. There wasn’t a huge market for him when he finally announced he wouldn’t return to the Patriots. The Buccaneers and Chargers were the only teams that were reportedly interested, and the Chargers seemed to be out of the running quickly.
Tampa Bay went 7-9 last season, and other than a few years in the late 1990s and early 2000s has mostly been one of the worst franchises in the NFL. But the Bucs could argue that they have talent, and a 30-interception season by Winston cost them a handful of wins. They obviously figure that with better quarterback play from Brady, they can be a playoff team.
The Bucs do have offensive talent. Chris Godwin and Mike Evans might be the best 1-2 receiver combination in the NFL. Brady’s skill set doesn’t really fit Arians’ style of offense, which is heavy on deep drops for the quarterback and a downfield passing game, but presumably Arians is planning to tweak his scheme to fit what Brady does well at this stage of his career.
We’ll see how Brady works out in Tampa Bay. Hopefully he lasts at least a couple seasons. Tampa Bay is scheduled to play at New England in 2021. That would be a must-see event.
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